Blumenthal calls on insurance commissioner to reject request

John O'Brien Jul. 7, 2009, 6:48pm


HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal wants his state's insurance commissioner to reject a premium rate increase from a health insurance company.

Blumenthal said Insurance Commissioner Thomas Sullivan should reject what he calls an "outrageous" request from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. He wrote Sullivan Tuesday to complain about the company's attempt to increase premiums from 22 to 30 percent.

"Publicly available information indicates that a rate increase of this humongous magnitude under these circumstances clearly violates the statutory standard because it is 'excessive,'" Blumenthal wrote.

"The law certainly mandates rejection of such an egregiously excessive rate hike request, especially given the financial challenges faced by most Connecticut families."

If Sullivan does not act, Blumenthal urged him to hold a public hearing so consumers could protest the increase.

Blumenthal is also peeved at Anthem's start date for the increase -- Oct. 1. He says consumers won't have time to find less expensive alternatives.

"Under state law, the Anthem proposal will be deemed approved if you do not disapprove the rate within 30 days of the June 9 filing," he wrote. "I urge your immediate rejection of this stratospheric rate increase."

Sullivan's office issued a statement Tuesday.

"Commissioner Sullivan agrees with some that the rates requested by Anthem are too high and understands the impact this rate increase may have on Anthem's individual members," the Insurance Department said in a written statement, according to a report in the Hartford Courant.

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