Mass. Judge Says He Will Decide By Monday Whether State Erred In Rejecting Premium Increases
A Suffolk Superior Court judge today "promised to make a decision by Monday afternoon in a high-stakes showdown between the [Gov. Deval] Patrick administration and the state's top health insurers" over proposed premium increases rejected by the state's Division of Insurance, the Boston Herald reports (McConville, 4/8).
NPR: Last week, "The state's insurance commissioner blocked 235 of 274 increases ranging from 8 to 32 percent on policies for small businesses and individuals," scheduled to take effect in April. "The insurers say increased costs of care are the problem and lay the blame for the hikes on higher charges by hospitals and doctors. They want a state judge to quash the insurance commissioner's actions" (Hensley, 4/8).
The Associated Press: During the hearing "an attorney for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and five members of the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans asked Judge Stephen Neel to issue a temporary injunction overruling the rejection. Attorney Dean Richlin also asked that the companies be allowed to collect the new premiums they had proposed be effective April 1 while a trial is held on the matter" (Johnson, 4/8).
Boston Globe: "As a result of the standoff between the state and insurers, residents and small businesses shopping for insurance, as well as those seeking to buy new policies, have been unable to get quotes for new coverage this week. Yesterday, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts -- the state's largest health insurer -- and Tufts Health Plan said they will, as ordered by the Division of Insurance, resume making new policies available for the small group market -- using last year's base rates, not the requested double-digit increases rejected the state rejected. The companies said they were not sure the new prices will be ready by tomorrow, as the state wants" (Weisman, 4/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.