Jorge Cabrera

State Senator

Jorge Cabrera

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Working Together to Solve Problems

August 28, 2023


HARTFORD – Senate President Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven) and state Senator Jorge Cabrera (D-Hamden), who is Senate Chairman of the legislature’s Insurance and Real Estate Committee, have written state Insurance Department Commissioner Andrew Mais and urged him to significantly change the process by which insurance company rate hikes are reviewed – a necessity, they say, made painfully clear by insurance company obfuscation during last week’s rate request public hearing.

Sens. Looney and Cabrera will propose a statutory change to require that such hearings be held under strict Uniform Administrative Procedures Act rules – as Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA) hearings on proposed rates mandate – and that the Insurance Department take affordability into consideration, and that there be a ‘presumption of denial’ for any proposed health insurance rate increase that exceeds inflation.

‘The current method of negotiation reflects a betrayal of policy holders. The public would be well served by a requirement that these rate hearings be compliant with the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act (UAPA) thus allowing cross examination of the parties (the hearing should include providers as well as insurers),” Sens. Looney and Cabrera wrote Commissioner Mais. “Connecticut statutes must be amended to require that the insurance commissioner take affordability into consideration in rate approval. In addition, there should be a presumption of denial for any rate increase that is higher than current inflation.”

The senators’ suggestions come less than one week after a public hearing on 10 filings by nine different Connecticut health insurers for health insurance plans that currently cover approximately 188,000 people. The proposed average individual policy rate request increase is 12.4 percent, while the proposed average small group policy rate request increase is 14.8 percent.

After the hearing, the insurers were criticized for offering partial or non-answers to questions posed by legislators, consumer advocates, and others.

“It concerns me how insurance companies are arriving at their proposed rate increases. I’m not getting a lot of details from them. We need to be able to do a deeper dive,” Sen. Cabrera said today.

“If we followed UAPA, we’d get much more detailed answers and fewer vague responses from insurance companies,” Sen. Looney said today.

The Insurance Department expects to make final rulings on the insurance company rate proposals in early September.