Crisco commends denial of insurance rate increase

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Joe Crisco Jr.

HARTFORD — State Sen. Joseph Crisco Jr. (D-17) applauded a recent decision by state regulators to deny Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield a requested 12.9 percent rate hike.

“Rejection of the request for a 12.9 percent rate increase was the right decision in this economic climate, when working people are living without raises and most other costs are rising at moderate rates,” Crisco, who chairs the legislature’s Insurance and Real Estate Committee, said in a new release. “The cost of health insurance and other employment benefits also have direct bearing on hiring practices in Connecticut so I’m particularly pleased we won’t have the stigma of this 12.9 percent increase to live with.”

A 3.9 percent increase was approved for other plans offered by Anthem the release stated.

According to the release, Crisco has been working for comprehensive reform of the rate request approval process and earlier this year his bill to do so was approved by the General Assembly. However, the initiative was vetoed.

Crisco said he would still prefer a more transparent rate increase approval process in which insurers would be called upon to explain and justify requested increases at public hearings.

“Applicants repeatedly refer to the high cost of health care and the expensive claims they must pay, but there is never any public disclosure of specifics in this regard, and I find that unacceptable,” Crisco said in the release. “I’m pleased to know there are new federal regulations in place to try and hold insurers accountable with a requirement for them to disclose the ratio between revenues generated through premiums and their actual medical expenditures — I’ll continue working for comparable accountability here in Connecticut.”

Crisco added, “As it is the figures we have suggest ample profits for Anthem in 2010 — I’m confident that huge corporation can live with a bit less when the new rates go into effect next year.”

Elio Gugliotti