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Letter: Fairfield Sen. Hwang Blasts Insurance Rate Hikes

State Sen. Tony Hwang (at podium) addresses state insurance regulators during an Aug. 3 public hearing in Hartford on proposed double-digit health insurance rate hikes. It's not too late for citizens to submit their concerns about the rate increases.
State Sen. Tony Hwang (at podium) addresses state insurance regulators during an Aug. 3 public hearing in Hartford on proposed double-digit health insurance rate hikes. It's not too late for citizens to submit their concerns about the rate increases. Photo Credit: Contributed photo

FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- Fairfield Daily Voice accepts signed letters to the editor. Send signed letters to Fairfield@dailyvoice.com .

To the editor:

I drove up to Hartford twice this week in search of state government and health insurance transparency. I failed on both attempts.

My travels to Hartford, the insurance capital, were for the purpose of voicing my opposition to proposed double-digit health insurance rate increases. The Affordable Care Act has proven to be anything but affordable.

I arrived at the Department of Insurance hearing with a tote back filled with e-mails I have received from people like you who oppose the rate hikes but were unable to make the trip.

You see, state insurance officials chose to have these hearings at 9 a.m. in the summer when people who are working and trying to make a living could not attend and have their voices be heard.

So, I submitted your comments. I then addressed state insurance regulators and insurance company executives face-to-face.

I noted that unpredictable health insurance rate hikes, year after year, are hurting middle-class families and small businesses in Connecticut.

I told them proposed rate increases are outrageous, and the system is broken.

My words were blunt and to the point. They had to be in order to convey what so many of you have told me on the phone, at public events and via e-mail at Tony.Hwang@cga.ct.gov . You are frustrated and angry. You think the deck is stacked against consumers. You are absolutely right.

The fact is that we, the consumers, have been on a wild and unsettling roller coaster ride of rate increases without any sense of predictability. These huge rate increases are unsustainable, the reasons given for the increases are weak, and even garnering basic information about the public hearing required dedication, persistence and time.

Here’s the kicker. A day before the public hearing on its requested rate increase, ConnectiCare nearly doubled its original request for a rate hike from 24.3 percent to 42.7 percent. A day before! Surprise, surprise.

I hope the state insurance regulators were able to hear my frustration and determination to oppose the rate increase. I was speaking for you, and I will continue to do so until we are heard.

Don’t like the sound of 42.7 percent rate hikes? Me neither. Want the transparent state government you deserve? Me too.

Please continue speaking out. You still can submit your comments on these unaffordable rate hikes until 4 p.m. Wednesday. Submit testimony at http://www.ct.gov/cid/cwp/view.asp?a=4059&Q=581302 or access the link via www.SenatorHwang.com .

Your submissions can be as brief as you like. Remember, these rate hikes are tax hikes on you, your business and your families. We have to fight this, and I thank the community for joining me in this very worthy fight.

State Sen. Tony Hwang

Hwang represents the 28th District of Easton, Fairfield, Newtown, Weston and Westport.

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