Press Release

Lawmakers and residents ask Commissioner to reject proposed health insurance rate hikes

“With the recent surge of COVID cases and the ongoing spread of the Delta variant, it is important that our state government and healthcare providers work together to expand medical treatment instead of limiting access through rate hikes.”
Photo for Lawmakers and residents ask Commissioner to reject proposed health insurance rate hikes

Published on August 10, 2021

The following is a press release and not an Uprise RI-written news story.

Fifteen members of the Rhode Island General Assembly and over 150 Rhode Island residents have sent an open letter to Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner (OHIC) Patrick Tigue to reject rate hikes proposed by Blue Cross Blue Shield, the Neighborhood Health Plan of RI, UnitedHealthcare, Aetna, Cigna and Tufts Health.

Here’s the full letter:

Dear Commissioner Tigue:

We write to you asking that the Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner reject the proposed health insurance rate hikes proposed by Blue Cross Blue Shield, the Neighborhood Health Plan of RI, UnitedHealthcare, Aetna, Cigna and Tufts Health as the approval of these rate hikes would hurt the working people and middle-class families of Rhode Island.

Over the last year and a half, since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, our communities have been financially impacted through job loss, reduced hours, and the closure of small businesses. Despite the recent re-opening of our economy, thousands of Rhode Islanders are still struggling to maintain financial stability. Between rent, mortgage payments, utilities, groceries, vehicle insurance, and other vital expenses that continue to increase in cost, thousands of working and middle-class families are trying to get back on their feet and avoid any further financial debt. This is especially prevalent in the urban core of Providence, Central Falls, and Pawtucket as these have been some of the communities hardest hit with unemployment, cases of Covid, hospitalizations, and deaths.

As the pandemic has shown, now more than ever, we need our residents to be cognizant of their health by regularly visiting their doctor, whether it is in-person or virtually through telemedicine. If these proposed health insurance rate hikes are approved, however, this would only harm the health of our communities and further contribute to economic insecurity. Naturally, people would become hesitant to visit their primary care physician due to the dramatic cost increase in their health insurance plans or they would simply be forced to pay more in out-of-pocket expenses. Overall, the requested rate hikes range from about 3% to more than 17% with some of the larger healthcare insurance companies, such as UnitedHealth, requesting the most significant increase among all insurers. It is disingenuous for these health insurance companies to claim that these hikes are for the purpose of simply matching expected medical cost increases while the salaries and bonuses of their wealthy executives continue to increase. If they were truly committed to “helping patients and employers access the most appropriate quality care while holding down costs,” they would focus on reducing the six-to-seven figure salaries of their health insurance executives and administrators instead of trying to maximize profit on the backs of working people and families that are trying to seek medical care.

With the recent surge of COVID cases and the ongoing spread of the Delta variant, it is important that our state government and healthcare providers work together to expand medical treatment instead of limiting access through rate hikes. We respectfully ask that the Office of the Health Commissioner reject these proposed health insurance rate hikes, regardless of the amount proposed, and instead prioritize the financial well-being of burdened communities trying to recover from this pandemic.

Sincerely,

  • Representative David Morales, District 7
  • Representative John Lombardi, District 8
  • Representative Marcia Ranglin-Vassell, District 5
  • Representative Brandon Potter, District 16
  • Representative Leonela Felix, District 61
  • Representative Brianna Henries, District 64
  • Representative Josh Giraldo, District 56
  • Senator Sam Bell, District 5
  • Senator Cynthia Mendes, District 18
  • Senator Tiara Mack, District 6
  • Senator Ana Quezada, District 2
  • Senator Jeanine Calkin, District 30
  • Senator Kendra Anderson, District 31
  • Senator Jonathon Acosta, District 16
  • Kayla Krupa, Resident of Foster
  • Ariel Neumann, Resident of North Kingstown
  • Robert Provost, Resident of Greenville
  • Caroline Clarke, Resident of Warren
  • Samantha Murphy, Resident of Cumberland
  • Thomas Duffy, Resident of Providence
  • Jessica Shaw, Resident of East Providence
  • Zakary Pereira , Resident of Warwick
  • Harrison Tuttle, Resident of Providence
  • Elizabeth Finneran, Resident of Saunderstown
  • Andrea Rojas, Resident of Providence
  • Miguel Sanchez, Resident of Providence
  • Adam Leahy, Resident of Providence
  • Enrique Sanchez, Resident of Johnston
  • Jacqueline Goldman, Resident of Providence
  • Nora Thurber, Resident of Providence
  • Leonard Cambra, Resident of Providence
  • Molly Allard, Resident of Providence
  • Jillian Quinn-Dickinson, Resident of Providence
  • Ames Colt, Resident of Riverside
  • Jim Torr, Resident of Providence
  • Sylvia Haigh, Resident of Providence
  • Jannet J Johnson, Resident of Providence
  • Nick Inglis, Resident of Providence
  • Thom Sheehan, Resident of Providence
  • Rebecca Leonard, Resident of Providence
  • Jacob Miller, Resident of Providence
  • Kari Kusler, Resident of Providence
  • Richard Corso, Resident of Providence
  • Mikaila Arthur, Resident of Providence
  • Kevin Garcia, Resident of East Providence
  • Ingrid Hernandez, Resident of Providence
  • Joel Reinstein, Resident of Providence
  • Maryetta Surrette, Resident of Providence
  • Michelle Ross, Resident of Providence
  • Elaine Budish, Resident of Providence
  • Susan Geisser, Resident of Pascoag
  • Melissa Chang , Resident of Providence
  • Sarah Liew, Resident of Cranston
  • Carrie Best, Resident of Providence
  • Daisy Bassen, Resident of East Greenwich
  • K Leaman, Resident of Providence
  • Adrienne West, Resident of Cranston
  • Simone Ahlborn, Resident of Providence
  • Angelo Andrade, Resident of Providence
  • Barbara Payne, Resident of Providence
  • Paul Wansing, Resident of North Providence
  • Samuel Avila, Resident of Pawtucket
  • Samantha Weiser, Resident of Providence
  • Brittany Palumbo, Resident of Providence
  • Marc Roulstone, Resident of Providence
  • Christine Waldeck, Resident of Providence
  • Sonja Paulson, Resident of Providence
  • Sarah DiSabatino, Resident of Providence
  • Terrence Hassett, Resident of Providence
  • Eliseo Rojas, Resident of Providence
  • Jessica Hopkins, Resident of Providence
  • Lisa Frueh, Resident of Providence
  • Brian Resnevic, Resident of Pawtucket
  • Michelle Walker, Resident of Providence
  • Lillian Gordon, Resident of Providence
  • Meg Walker, Resident of Providence
  • Michael Salzillo, Resident of Providence
  • Michael Lincoln, Resident of Providence
  • Maya Chavez Akin, Resident of Providence
  • Emilia DaSilva-Tavarez, Resident of Providence
  • Helen O’Grady, Resident of Jamestown
  • Kevin Rossi, Resident of Providence
  • Connor Mathis, Resident of Cranston
  • Gina Lerman, Resident of Pawtucket
  • Erika Munoz, Resident of Providence
  • Arthur Dristiliaris, Resident of Providence
  • John A Fazzino, Resident of Providence
  • Kimberly Vaughnn, Resident of Warwick
  • Eileen Allard, Resident of East Greenwich
  • Joann Peareara, Resident of Providence
  • Krystina Brodeur, Resident of Providence
  • David Song, Resident of Providence
  • Carian Diaz, Resident of Providence
  • David Salzillo Jr., Resident of Providence
  • Kirk Robinson , Resident of Providence
  • Dan Greenberg, Resident of Providence
  • Caleb McVey, Resident of Providence
  • Alex Denisovich, Resident of West Warwick
  • Sucely Murillo, Resident of Providence
  • John Mullins, Resident of Providence
  • David Santagata, Resident of Pawtucket
  • Joshua Liard, Resident of Coventry
  • Stephanie Strub, Resident of Pawtucket
  • Linda Ujifusa, Resident of Portsmouth
  • Sarah Coakley, Resident of Pawtucket
  • Isabela Von Dehl, Resident of Providence
  • Brian Austin, Resident of Greenville
  • Anna Bonesteel, Resident of Pawtucket
  • Alec Scungio, Resident of Providence
  • Robert Jaz, Resident of Providence
  • Janis Mooradian, Resident of East Providence
  • Nina Wolff Landau, Resident of Providence
  • Richard Hitt, Resident of Jamestown
  • Ben Roth, Resident of Providence
  • Miranda Grundy, Resident of Providence
  • Gregory Waksmulski, Resident of Pawtucket
  • Kevin Conway, Resident of Providence
  • Betsy Blanchette, Resident of Providence
  • Grace Guillotte, Resident of Providence
  • Julius Ferraro, Resident of Providence
  • Linda Eibel, Resident of North Scituate
  • Susan Lonardo, Resident of Providence
  • Sally Jane Wilson, Resident of Providence
  • Meg Lynch, Resident of Cranston
  • Kara Shurtleff, Resident of Providence
  • Belen Florez, Resident of Providence
  • Nelson Lin, Resident of Providence
  • Lynne Agar, Resident of Providence
  • Enya Zhu, Resident of Providence
  • Deborah Del Gais, Resident of Providence
  • Joel Gilbert, Resident of Providence
  • Elinor Nacheman, Resident of Pawtucket
  • Joanne Saritelli, Resident of Providence
  • Noah Feng, Resident of Providence
  • Katherine Ahlquist, Resident of Providence
  • Elizabeth Egan, Resident of Providence
  • Corrin Anderer, Resident of Providence
  • Ivette Romero, Resident of Providence
  • Shelley Peterson, Resident of Providence
  • Will Demers, Resident of Providence
  • Steve Burt, Resident of Providence
  • Kathryn Tomasek, Resident of Pawtucket
  • Kimberly Peters, Resident of Bristol
  • Heather Burrell, Resident of Providence
  • Jillian Brosofsky, Resident of Providence
  • Priscilla Leap, Resident of Providence
  • Al Idris, Resident of Providence
  • Vincent Trudell, Resident of Providence
  • Caroline David, Resident of Providence
  • Alan Sondheim, Resident of Providence
  • Kat Simonds, Resident of Providence
  • Karina Fagan, Resident of Providence
  • Michael Tan, Resident of Providence
  • Zak Mettger, Resident of Cranston
  • Ellen Rooney, Resident of Providence
  • Nicholas Sofios, Resident of Providence
  • Kelly Harney, Resident of Providence
  • Victoria Vorachack, Resident of Providence
  • Maxwell Krieger, Resident of Providence
  • Greg Gerritt, Resident of Providence
  • Karen Malcolm, Resident of Cranston
  • Tania Lobo, Resident of Providence
  • Yessenia Lobo, Resident of Providence
  • Perpetua Lobo, Resident of Providence
  • Sorivel Kuhn, Resident of Cumberland
  • Lucy Rios, Resident of Pawtucket
  • Michael Rainville, Resident of Warwick
  • Anna Kastner, Resident of Providence
  • Dennis Hogan, Resident of Providence
  • Jimmie Sanford, Resident of Providence
  • Kinverly Dicupe, Resident of Pawtucket
  • Marie Ramirez, Resident of Providence
  • Jordan Gomez, Resident of Providence

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