Health Insurers Defend High Premiums

Oct 28, 2011

New Hampshire has some of the highest health insurance rates in the country.  The state’s insurance department held its first hearing ever on some of the causes.

The average policy holder saw a 14 percent rise in premiums this past year.  A cavalcade of health care providers, employers and insurance companies offered their views.  Lisa Guertin, president of Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, said one factor is new treatments.

"Anthem in NH was billed 60 million dollars for 5 services that didn’t exist in 2004 those are wonderful new technologies and if you need one them they are life savings but that is 60 mil flowing through out claims that didn’t exist five years ago.”

State officials also heard that when Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements are too low, the difference is passed along to private insurance plans.

As part of federal healthcare reform, going forward, insurers seeking more than a ten percent premium hike will need to explain publicly the reason for the increase