State Settles With Insurer In Premium Dispute

Gov. Deval Patrick's administration has reached an agreement with the state's third-largest health care insurer on premium increases the insurer can charge small businesses and individuals.

The Massachusetts Division of Insurance agreed that Tufts Health Care Plan can increase its rates from 5.8 percent to 12.8 percent.

The original rate increases Tufts requested ranged from 11.1 to 22.7 percent. The settlement is not retroactive, so it will not affect the lower rates paid since April 1.

Tufts says although the company will suffer losses with the agreement, it believed the settlement was in the best interests of its members who need certainty in the insurance market.

"We want to be part of the solution and there's got to be a conversation about how to lower costs for all of our members, especially for small businesses," said Tufts spokeswoman Patti Embry-Tauntenhan.

On April 1, the Division of Insurance rejected 235 of 274 rate changes filed by the state's health insurers, saying they were excessive. Some of the insurers appealed the decision.

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