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STATE CONSUMER PROTECTION BOARD OK'S MORE INSURANCE RATE HIKES 

The Green Mountain Care Board approved another rate increase to the top two health care insurers in Vermont, affecting everyone enrolled in Vermont Health Connect.

Vermonters will see a rise in their 2020 healthcare premiums, as the Green Mountain Care Board approved Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont's rate request for a 12.4% increase, and MVP Health's request for a 10.1% increase.

The insurers blamed last year's collective $11 million company loss on prescription drugs, people seeking medical services more often, and the fact that the Green Mountain Care Board has not approved some rate hikes over the past five years.

Chair of the Green Mountain Care Board, Kevin Mullin, is well aware of the perils this may cause for many low-income Vermonters.

 

"These rates are not affordable. We acknowledge they are not affordable. But at the same time we can't put a company out of business." - Kevin Mullin, Green Mountin Care Board Chair

 

Healthcare Ombudsman Mike Fisher, from Vermont Legal Aid, fears that Vermonters will have to make the tough decision to switch to less costly plans, only to find that they are unable to afford the deductible when they seek medical care.

Non-profits, including designated and specialize service agencies, will also be affected by the change: When they pay more to insure employees, they have less money to invest in community services.

The Vermont Developmental Disabilities Council's Senior Policy Analyst, Susan Aranoff, regularly attends meetings hosted by the Green Mountain Care Board and is concerned about how often the consumer-protection board seems to put consumers second. Aranoff says, "We can't balance bad budgeting on the backs of Vermonters. Every year consumers pay them [Blue Cross Blue Shield and MVP] and every year they ask for more. Where is the sustainability in that?"

For more information watch the news brief on WCAX and read the article by VTDigger.


Side notes:

  • According to a report released in March by the Green Mountain Care Board, Vermonters spent more than $6 billion on healthcare in 2017.
  • To no avail, many Vermonters attended Green Mountain Care Board's public hearing last month to speak against increased rates.
  • Photo credit to Kendal James on Unsplash