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By Richard Asinof
CRANSTON – R.I. Health Insurance Commissioner Christopher F. Koller announced today that he was lowering the previously approved health insurance average premium increases for Tufts Health Plan subscribers.
For large employers, the average premium rate increase is being reduced to 4.1 percent from 4.5 percent; for small employers the average premium rate increase is being reduced to 2.7 percent from 5.3 percent.
About 12,000 Rhode Islanders are covered by Tufts’ fully insured commercial health plans, out of a total of about 350,000 Rhode Islanders covered by commercial health insurance plans in the small and large employer markets, according to Koller.
Tufts requested the new lower average expected premium increases on the basis of favorable year-to-date claims and premium experience compared to what had been expected and previously filed, according to Koller.
“I am very happy to be able to approve these new, lower premium increases for small and large employers who purchase their coverage from Tufts, and I applaud Tufts for requesting them,” Koller said. “The fact that these new, lower rates were requested by Tufts demonstrates the positive effect of a setting an expectation of accountability and transparency around this issue and this is why my office has consistently emphasized these values.”
Koller repeated his belief that health insurance “continues to be expensive – too expensive – because the underlying cost of health care itself is expensive.” He said his officer is committed to continuing to work to address these underlying costs in collaboration with “consumers, employers, government officials, insurers and providers by promoting systemic reforms that have been demonstrated to reduce the price of services and rates of utilization.”