In a smackdown for health insurers, the Massachusetts insurance commissioner rejected nearly all the rate hikes the companies requested for small businesses and individual policies in state.
Massachusetts rejects more than 200 proposed premium increases.
Massachusetts rejects more than 200 proposed premium increases. iStockphoto.com
The final tally: 235 of 274, or 85 percent, of the premium increases were turned down. A statement said the companies' rate requests "were found to include excessive increases and rates unreasonable relative to the benefits provided."
The review was made possible by an emergency regulation put in place in February by Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick, who's running for reelection this fall.
In prepared remarks Patrick said:
For me, this is about jobs and creating the conditions for small businesses to start hiring. Without that, we won't have an economic recovery. Right now, small business owners and working families are drowning in double-digit premium increases.
For those policies issued by companies whose rate requests were rejected, the premiums will stay as they were a year ago.
The proposed rate increases — ranging from 8 to 32 percent — would have kicked in today, the Boston Globe reports. The insurance commissioner scrutinized rate hike greater than 4.8 percent, the paper said.