Posted: Aug 06, 2022 7:00 AM

HARTFORD — State Senator Tony Hwang has released a set of resources and links to help people who want to make representations to the state Department of Insurance on Aug. 15, as an appointed committee examines — in some cases – demands for double-digit health insurance rate increases of up to 24% next year. This year, there are 13 health insurance pricing applications filed by nine health insurance funds.

Hwang, who is a member of Newtown’s legislative delegation and head of the Republican Committee on Insurance and Real Estate and the Public Health Committee, also offers to testify directly to the state insurance commissioner until the date of this hearing.

Along with his colleague and Senate GOP Leader Kevin Kelly, Hwang also fought and succeeded in moving this hearing from the Insurance Department’s downtown Hartford offices to the Legislative Office Building at the Capitol Complex of the United States. ‘State.

“We absolutely need accessible public hearings for those affected to voice their struggles and challenge these unaffordable rate increases,” Hwang said in a statement to The Newtown Bee. “We need transparency and accountability from insurance companies and CID to the public who will be burdened by these excessive cost increases.”

Until now, the CID’s review process in its nondescript downtown office offered limited access and technology to accommodate public testimony and participation during the procedural process of considering the merits of each respective proposal. This process, Hwang said, is frustrating because it provides no opportunity to challenge and question the veracity of the claim.

“Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly and I recently wrote to CID Commissioner Andrew Mais to request that the hearing be held at the State Capitol and to provide in-person and virtual access to residents and companies. We requested a hearing to allow for an exchange of transparency and accountability and were joined by CT Healthcare attorney Ted Doolittle who shared our frustration and also questioned the rationale for these proposed rate increases.

Commissioner Mais has now agreed to hold the public hearing on Monday, August 15, beginning at 9 a.m. at the State Capitol Legislative Office Building. The hearing can also be viewed on CT-N Online, on the CID Facebook page or by dialing a conference call line.

Hwang reminds anyone wishing to submit and share their testimony that they can email [email protected] with their name and testimony attached, cc the senator to [email protected] cga.ct.gov.

“I will personally deliver your testimony to the CID,” he said.

An email request is also required for those wishing to register to testify in person remotely via the MS Team video link.

AG request denied

Although there have been discussions the scheduled hearing could be postponed at the request of State Attorney General William Tong, State Insurance Commissioner Andrew N. Mais said the hearing would continue as scheduled.

The AG said the delay was justified as the US Senate debates extending the federal tax credit for early premiums. At the request of the CID, these insurers have incorporated into their exchange rates an assumption that these tax credits would expire on January 1, 2023. This assumption has been identified as a significant factor behind the double-digit increases in claim rates, Tong said in a statement.

“Extending the tax credit would be a game-changer and could significantly reduce the need for an increase. It would be a breach of our duty to consumers to proceed with a rate hearing based on what now appears to be poor If Congress, as expected, votes to extend federal advance premium tax credits, the claims must be revised — reflecting substantial savings for consumers — before any further action is taken,” said Attorney General Tong.

But, conversely, suggested that now may be the time to clarify the process for reviewing actuarial rates and the impact of federal subsidies on health insurance rates to eliminate misunderstandings.

“Although Congress has yet to vote to extend the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) increase in advanced federal premium tax credits and the continued removal of the upper income limit to receive these tax credits, as a board member of our Affordable Care Act (ACA) Exchange Access Health CT (AHCT) program, I have been a strong supporter of extending these increases” , said Mais. “Indeed, in meetings this year with members of the Connecticut delegation in Washington, I conveyed this support, I was delighted to hear from them that they also supported without reserves the lawsuit and I thank them for all the work they have done to help consumers in Connecticut.”

But said these subsidies reduce the cost of insurance for consumers once actuarially appropriate rates are established.

“We are currently carrying out a full actuarial review of rate filings,” the insurance commissioner added. “Notwithstanding suggestions to the contrary, the CID did not ask the healthcare carriers to assume that the ARPA extension would expire on 1/1/23. Rather, we had already asked each carrier to explain how they used the Federal Subsidy Assumption in its projection of premium data for 2023 so that we have the information and flexibility to respond quickly to any changes.

Anyone considering providing testimony, support or opposition to the Hearing Panel can read the supporting background materials by visiting the following links:

Sen Kelly, Hwang Slam Call for health insurance rate hike – CLICK HERE

CT Republican Leaders Renew Calls for State Capitol to Open for Public Hearing on Proposed Health Insurance Rate Increases – CLICK HERE

Sen Kelly, Formica and Hwang Letter to CT Insurance Committee 7-11 — CLICK HERE

Response from Insurance Commissioner Andrew Mais to Sen Kelly, Sen Hwang on Request for Transparent and Accountable Public Hearing – CLICK HERE

The Department of Insurance has updated the Notice of Public Hearing – CLICK HERE

Editor John Voket can be reached at [email protected]

State Senator Tony Hwang (R28)