Second round of insurance rate hike hearings Thursday

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HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Thursday is the second day of public hearings that could determine how much your health insurance rates will go up.

Three different companies are looking for major increases in what you pay. Different names, but similar arguments.

Wednesday’s hearing was about Anthem and the average 27 percent it wants to raise its rates for health insurance. Thursday, the attention is on ConnectiCare and Aetna.

Related Content: Health insurance rate increase hearing

All three companies want to raise their rates by double digit percentages. The Connecticut Insurance Department has the final say on that.

The insurance companies say costs are going way up, so their prices have to go up. Medical costs are rising, not just because drugs cost more, but because of the failures of the health care exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

Related Content: Aetna latest insurer to question Obamacare’s future

The Insurance Department is required to make sure the insurance companies stay solvent, so those costs do matter. Customers who spoke out want something else to be considered, however, and that is affordability. As one cancer survivor pointed out, we all need health insurance.

“And every last one of us, at some point in our lives, is going to be a patient,” said Gaye Hyre from West Haven. “We’re not consumers, we’re not customers, we are people, and we are patients.”

State statute says the department has to consider the health of the insurance companies when setting rates, but whether the people can afford those rates – they are not allowed to factor that in. Yes, state law says affordability cannot be a factor in determining insurance rates.

Related Content: Sen. urges residents to attend hearings on proposed insurance rate hikes

Thursday morning, the hearings with a look at ConnectiCare. It is asking for an average increase of around 14%. Thursday afternoon, it switches to Aetna, which is looking to increase its rates by around 28%.

If you want to speak your mind, this is going on in the Insurance Department’s office at 153 Market Street in Hartford.

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