Health insurers and HMOs in Connecticut have agreed to begin notifying their individual and small group policyholders each time they submit a rate request to the state Insurance Department for review.
They have also agreed to provide guidance to consumers regarding where to access the filing and how to submit comments.
The new policy was announced by Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Thomas B. Leonardi.
It saves the department from having to ask the state Legislature to pass a law imposing such a requirement on insurers and HMOs.
"Consumers have a right to know when their health carrier has filed for a new rate and the Department has worked closely with carriers to develop a letter on rate notification,” Leonardi said.
He said that in addition to the Department’s postings,"this letter is another important outreach resource that we can use to help educate policyholders about insurance rate procedures in Connecticut."
Leonardi also expressed his appreciation for the cooperation that he recieved so far from health insurers and HMOs.
The agreement drew praise from advocates, the industry and key state lawmakers, including Victoria Veltri, the state healthcare advocate.
"I appreciate the Commissioner's efforts to secure this agreement with insurers, in lieu of legislation," she said.
"OHA has advocated for years for meaningful, advanced notice to consumers of proposed rate increases to allow consumers the option to shop for a new plan, prepare for a rate increase and/or provide comment to the Insurance Department on the insurer’s justification for the rate increase," Veltri said.