Bill to scrutinize health insurance rates moves forward

A bill that would require public hearings and disclosure of data justifying health insurance rate hikes was approved by the legislature’s Insurance and Real Estate Committee today on a 14-5 vote.

“It’s needed,” said Sen. Joseph J. Crisco, Jr. of Woodbridge, co-chairman of the committee, following the vote.

The proposal was launched last year after Anthem Health Plans Inc. requested a 23.5 percent increase in premiums for individual policies. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and the state’s Health Care Advocate Kevin Lembo say a more rigorous approval process is needed. But the state’s Insurance Commissioner Thomas R. Sullivan argues the process is working.

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