Rhode Island Insurance Commissioner approves higher health insurance rates
The cost of health insurance is set to grow in Rhode Island. Insurance Commissioner Christopher Koller recently approved rate increase proposals that will affect more than 200 plans throughout the state. Higher rates will take effect in 2014 and approval was granted to proposals coming from UnitedHealth of New England and Tufts Health Plan, as well as others operating in the state. On average, rates are to increase by 10% for a variety of plans.
Rates for individual market to rise by 10%
For the individual and small business market, rates are likely to rise by 10% in 2014. The large business market, which is primarily dominated by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, will see rates grow by 12%. Many of the health insurance companies operating in the state sought rate increases beyond 10% but these proposals were shot down by regulators that are devoted to keeping such increases at or below the 10% threshold.
Growing medical costs cited as reason behind rate increases
According to state insurance regulators, higher health insurance rates are primarily due to the growing cost of medical care. Other factors include higher administrative costs and the costs associated with compliance with the federal Affordable Care Act. While the costs associated with the Affordable Care Act are considered one-time fees, they are still contributing to the overall financial impact being experienced by the state’s health insurance companies.
State officials work to mitigate cost of medical care
Commissioner Koller notes that the state is devoted to keeping the cost of medical care in check, but this has proven to be a problematic task. The Commissioner suggests that it will take aggressive action in both the private and public sectors to mitigate the impact of growing medical expenses. Thus far, the most aggressive action on this front has come from the state’s health insurance companies, which have been working to keep their rates relatively reasonable while also encouraging health care professionals to lower the cost of care.