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Insurers Fall In Line On Rate Hikes — Fourth Deal Reached

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the state's largest health insurer, just agreed to ratchet back proposed rate increases to an average of about 8 percent, according to The Boston Globe, following the lead of three other insurers who reached similar deals with the state.

In announcing the deal, the Patrick administration said the "four agreements collectively cover about 90 percent of the small businesses and working families insured in the merged market in Massachusetts," The Globe reports:

In a statement, Blue Cross Blue Shield president and chief executive Bill Van Faasen said the agreement will end months of uncertainty and provide for a more stable marketplace.

In April, the Massachusetts Division of Insurance disapproved proposed rate increases from Blue Cross Blue Shield ranging from 9.3 percent to 22.6 percent after finding them to be unreasonable or excessive in relation to the benefit provided, the administration noted.

"The settlement reduces those increases to a range of .4 percent to 12.9 percent, with an average blended base rate of about 8 percent," the administration said in a press release, adding, "As with previous agreements, the settlement with Blue Cross Blue Shield does not include retroactive increases to April 1."

Van Faasen said in his statement that Blue Cross Blue Shield agreed to accept "less than adequate premium rates" in order to "help move the community beyond the distraction of arbitrary caps on premiums and toward more meaningful and sustainable solutions that will bring real and lasting rate relief to employers and individuals."

This program aired on August 5, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

Rachel Zimmerman Twitter Health Reporter
Rachel Zimmerman previously reported on health and the intersection of health and business for Bostonomix.

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