Health insurers seek large premium increases in RI for 2023

Health insurers are calling the state for a steep rise in health insurance premiums in 2023, citing increased visits and higher health care costs.

The proposed premium increases must go through the Health Insurance Commissioner’s Office, which makes the final decision on the size of the increase, if any, that will allow insurers to impose their plans.

Cory King, chief of staff at the health commissioner’s office, said the proposed increases are the largest he has seen in eight years of working for the commission.

Insurance premiums for plans purchased on the state’s individual market, HealthSource RI, are proposed to increase 9.6% for Rhode Island’s Blue Cross Blue Shield and 6.8% for Rhode Island’s Neighborhood Health Plan.

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For small business plans, the proposed increases are 11.7% for Blue Cross, 9.3% for the Neighborhood Health Plan, between 10.8% and 12.3% for UnitedHealthcare, and 10% 9.2% for Tufts.

For the largest group, the largest employers, Blue Cross proposed a 7% increase, UnitedHealthcare an 11.3% increase, Tufts a 10.4% increase, Aetna a 13.4% increase. and Cigna an increase of 8.5%.

What is driving demands from insurers to raise premiums?

This year, requests for premium increases have been driven by pent-up and “recovered” demand for health care, as procedures and surgeries were postponed or canceled during the pandemic.

We add inflation, which affects the cost of supplies and prescription drugs, and health insurers say premiums must rise to cover their costs.

Proposal to increase premiums for health insurance for small groups.

King said the commissioner’s office always finds reasonable ways to reduce the premium increases proposed by insurers.

“We can’t just make things up, because insurers can appeal the decision we made, regardless of whether we obeyed the laws,” King said.

Who is affected by the proposed tariff increases?

Whatever the final increase, if any, the commissioner approves will affect 172,746 people, or 16% of Rhode Island’s population, though some likely live in other states and work for Rhode Island companies.

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