Should state regulators deny health insurance rate increases for next year, as Attorney General Peter F. Neronha urged?

Attorney General Peter F. Neronha on Aug. 8 said he is urging the R.I. Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner to deny rate increase requests for next year made by six health insurers.

Neronha cited economic struggles faced by many Rhode Islanders, including inflation and higher costs for goods and housing. He said the rate increase requests would affect more than 166,000 residents.

The insurers that requested increases for next year include Cigna Group; UnitedHealthCare Services Inc., which operates UnitedHealthCare of New England; Aetna Inc.; Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island; Harvard Pilgrim Health Care; and Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island.

The Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner last year approved rate hikes for 2023 of 5.7% to 8.9% for large group rates, 3.5% to 9.7% for small group rates and 3.1% to 8.2% for individual rates.

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Should state regulators deny health insurance rate increases for next year, as Attorney General Peter F. Neronha urged?