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Rhode Island insurance rate hikes are less than requested

September 2, 2021 GMT

CRANSTON, R.I. (AP) — Some Rhode Islanders will be paying more for their health insurance next year, but not as much as insurers wanted them to pay, the state Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner said Thursday.

The rate increases for 2022 approved by Commissioner Patrick Tigue were lower than insurers has requested.

“As Rhode Islanders confront significant threats to their health and financial well-being due to the spread of COVID-19, my responsibility is to limit the burden of the cost of health insurance within the standards for review and approval set forth by law,” Tigue said in a statement. “Given the strong reserve positions of health insurers operating in the state, I did not believe that charges for profit and contributions to reserves for 2022 were consistent with the proper conduct of the insurers’ business or consistent with the public interest.”

Rhode Islanders will save almost $42 million in 2022 compared to what the commercial health insurers requested, his office said.

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For Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island, which has 40,255 members in its small group plan and requested an average rate increase of 2.9%, Tigue approved a 0.3 % decrease.

Gail Carvelli, a spokesperson for BCBSRI, told The Boston Globe the company accepted the commissioner’s modifications and recognized the economic challenges posed by the pandemic.