The Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner has announced a Public Input Meeting for Wednesday, May 29, from noon to 1:30pm, at the Department of Labor and Training meeting room, in Cranston.
The Commissioner will be taking testimony in this meeting on the rates for 2014. If you are an employer and can talk about how insurance rates affect your company and your employees, we encourage you to speak!
On Friday, Commissioner Christopher Koller conditionally approved higher average rate increases for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI), going into effect April 1, 2013. Though the Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner (OHIC) did find that Blue Cross had justified reasons for requesting rate increases, OHIC approved lower increases with four major conditions, including a requirement that Blue Cross offer at least one new affordable health insurance plan that costs at least 15% less than the price of a plan with comparable benefits.
In the press release Commissioner Koller explained, “As I have repeatedly said, health insurance continues to be expensive—too expensive—because the underlying cost of health care itself is expensive. With the work we are doing in Rhode Island to transform primary care, build health information technology, engage consumers, coordinate care, and implement provider payment reform, now is the time for lower cost plans for consumers to be offered. Change from all stakeholders—insurers, providers, and consumers—will be required to produce demonstrable results.”
Cranston Chamber President Stephen Boyle and Russ Partridge, the Executive Director of the WARM Center on WBLQ’s In the Studio with Ann Marie Spatharakis. Steve, Russ and Ann Marie discuss the state of health care access in Rhode Island. They are all very well spoken on this issue- please take a listen!
On Friday, November 2nd, Health Insurance Commissioner Koller approved even lower rates for Tufts Healh Plan’s 2013 average base rate increases. For large employers, the average premium rate increase is being reduced to 4.1 percent from 4.5 percent; for small employers the average premium rate increase is being reduced to 2.7 percent from 5.3 percent. This is big news. For an insurer to come back to the table after they’ve already had their rates improved and say you know what? We can do better and we want to do better- we are all part of the solution. Way to go Tufts.