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Mass. To Health Insurers: Keep Rates Flat

While most employers will pay at least nine to 10 percent more for health insurance next year, the state is telling health plans it can't afford any increase.

WBUR's Martha Bebinger has more.

Dolores Mitchell runs the Group Insurance Commission, the agency that manages health benefits for 294,000 state and some municipal employees, retirees and their dependents. Mitchell has told participating health plans that they must keep rates flat next year because her agency has already lost more than $30 million in state budget cuts.

MITCHELL: If I don't have the money and can't pay more money, I have to keep saying to these folks: What part of no don't you understand, and we are not going to do it by simply shifting all that shortfall to the consumers. We're just not going to do that.

Mitchell says insurers could hold down costs by limiting patients to the just the cheapest and best hospitals and doctors. Health insurers submit their proposals next month.

This program aired on November 19, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.

Martha Bebinger Twitter Reporter
Martha Bebinger covers health care and other general assignments for WBUR.

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