Anthem Proposes Rate Increase For Individuals

Sep 7, 2011

Insurer Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is asking the state for an increase in the rate it charges for its individual health plans.  WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports. According to a filing with the state insurance department, Anthem wants to increase rates by 12.9 percent for some of its policies.  Arielle Levin Becker covers healthcare for the Connecticut Mirror. "Anthem is asking for a 12.9 percent increase and it's across several different products that they offer, several different types of individual  market plans. It's not for people who get their insurance through their jobs -- it's just for the individual market." An Anthem representative declined to be interviewed, but said in an email that the company is balancing the needs of consumers with the rising costs of healthcare.  Again, Arielle Levin Becker. "They're staying it's a few things.  One is that the cost of medial claims have gone up, they're also saying that the people who are covered have been using more medical services than they might have in the past, and a small portion of the increase they said comes from increased mandates, things that they have to cover under federal and state law." Victoria Veltri is the state's health care advocate.  She says that while large group policies have the ability to negotiate with insurers because of their sheer size, individual policy owners don't have that same ability. She also says Anthem is not the only insurer asking for an increase -- but its 12.9 percent request is a bit higher than the rest. "Twelve and a half percent is a substantial increase.  So is nine point something percent for the people who are policy holders of the other carriers.   This is not a time where people can easily absorb continued rate increases year after year." Veltri says the the state's insurance department will now review Anthem's request. For WNPR, I'm Jeff Cohen.