Insurance companies that sell plans on and off Connecticut’s Affordable Care Act exchange, Access Health CT, are again seeking increases in the cost of premiums — this time for policies that begin in 2022.

The proposed average rate increase for individual health plans next year is 8.6 percent, compared to a request of 6.3 percent in 2021. The suggested rate hikes range from 5.1 percent to 12.3 percent, depending on the policy.

For small group plans, the proposed average rate increase is 12.9 percent, compared to 11.3 percent in 2021. The recommended rate hikes range from 7.4 percent to 15.8 percent.

“I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am disappointed that it’s the same story this year,” said Lynn Ide, director of program and policy for the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut, an advocacy organization. “We are focused every year on the impact to the consumer, and we were watching to see if they would take into account the fact that many families and small businesses who buy on the individual and small group markets are still struggling. And we’ve been watching reports of banner profits for insurance companies over the past year and wondering — what will they do? Well, they gave us the same old answer: ‘We’re going to ask you for more money.’”

State Comptroller Kevin Lembo also criticized the proposed increases. Lembo was a staunch supporter of legislation creating a public option health plan in Connecticut, though the effort failed this year after pushback from the insurance sector.

“After an elaborate lobbying and advertising campaign to successfully kill reforms aimed at making health care more affordable, it only took six weeks for the industry to come back and ask for more money from Connecticut residents and small businesses,” Lembo said.

“The current health care options available to individuals, small businesses and nonprofits are not intended to keep people healthy. They’re intended to make a handful of corporations an unlimited amount of money. … I would encourage the public to issue comments opposing these rate increases and demand action from those whose job it is to represent their best interests.”

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