Small business owners are hoping the state’s health insurance commissioner will hold the line on the cost of health insurance for next year. The commissioner’s office is taking public comment on those proposed rates now. And at a public hearing last night, several small business owners testified about how rising insurance costs are eating into their bottom line. Bruce Dawson owns Central Tools in Pawtucket.
“This year’s become particularly pronounced. We got a 20 percent rate increase after a couple of years of modest increases," said Dawson. "That’s had an impact where it’s enough dollars we had to actually look at a job we were going to fill and we’re not filling it, because we can’t figure out how we’re going to afford doing that.”
Health insurance commissioner Dr. Kathleen Hittner says public input is one factor she’ll consider before making a decision about what health insurers can charge next year. Her office must also determine whether the plans meet federal and state laws. A decision is expected by mid-July.