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Mass., Harvard Pilgrim Reach Premium Increase Deal

The Patrick administration has reached a settlement with Harvard Pilgrim Health Care amid an ongoing dispute about small business health insurance premiums.

The state Division of Insurance had rejected 25 of 26 increases Harvard Pilgrim had proposed April 1, along with a series of increases proposed by other leading insurers.

Gov. Deval Patrick says skyrocketing premium rates are discouraging small businessmen from hiring new workers. The insurers say their costs are triggered by rapidly rising charges from providers such as doctors and hospitals.

Harvard Pilgrim initially sued to get its increases. It lost in court, but last week won an appeal to an Insurance Division panel.

The settlement includes no retroactive increases, and base-rate increases are lowered by as much as 15 percent percent compared with the originally proposed rates.

This program aired on July 2, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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