2 Mass. Health Insurers Seek Rate Hikes

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The state's two largest health insurers are asking for double-digit increases in the rates they charge small businesses and individuals.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the state's biggest health insurer, is requesting increases averaging 12 percent. Harvard Pilgrim Health Care is seeking hikes ranging from about 9 percent to nearly 12 percent.

The requests made this week set up another possible clash between insurers and state regulators, who two months ago rejected 235 proposed premium increases that would have taken effect April 1.

The new proposals cover plans up for renewal starting July 1.

A Blue Cross spokeswoman tells The Boston Globe the rate hike requests cover the costs of delivering care.

Gov. Deval Patrick says "now is not the time to be placing barriers" in the way of an economic recovery.

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