Health Care Update from the State House

Early Victory on Health Insurance Rate Review:

Last week, the Senate Finance Committee passed a strong bill that makes the process of approving health insurer rates more efficient and transparent. The bill gives the Green Mountain Care Board the sole authority to approve, deny, or modify health insurance rates and creates a shorter and more predictable timeline for action on proposed rate increases.

Another key provision of the bill will make it much easier for consumers to find out when their insurer wants to raise rates. The bill requires the Green Mountain Care Board to develop an email notification system, which would alert consumers when insurers have filed for a rate increase. Currently, huge rate increases, such as Blue Cross Blue Shield’s currently proposed 24.4% rate increase on Catamount customers are subject to relatively no consumer input (to learn more about and submit comments on this rate increase, click here). A consumer notification system will help individuals and small businesses better anticipate cost increases, and make it easier for them to have a voice in the process before these rates go in to effect.

The bill (S.152) is currently in the Senate Appropriations Committee, and is expected to head to the Senate floor in the near future. We will keep you updated on the progress of the bill as developments unfold.