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Another Insurer Strikes Rate-Cap Deal With State

Tufts Health Plan struck a deal with state regulators to limit increases in its insurance rates, according to a report in The Boston Globe.

So far, three big insurers — Tufts, Harvard Pilgrim and Neighborhood Health Plan — have agreed to similar rate-limiting agreements with the state. Reporter Todd Wallack writes:

Tufts agreed to raise rates in a range of 5.8 percent to 12.8 percent, starting next month — down from the 11.1 percent to 22.7 the company had proposed.

“This is great news,’’ said Barbara Anthony, the state’s undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, which includes the Insurance Division. “I think everyone involved wants the same thing, which is lower health insurance premiums.’’

The pact comes four months after the Division of Insurance denied 235 out of 275 rate increase proposals from Tufts and five other insurance companies, arguing they were excessive or unreasonable. That set up a showdown between Massachusetts officials and insurers.

Still, Wallack reports, "three other health plans, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, the state’s largest insurer, Fallon Community Health Plan, and Health New England, are continuing to appeal the state’s denials of rate increases. A decision on the Blue Cross case is expected in the next few weeks."

This program aired on August 3, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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