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I’m surprised that Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield’s recent request for rate increases on their individual health products (as opposed to their employer-sponsored or group health insurance products) got so much publicity. All of the companies have rate adjustments on a regular basis. Each company will have a rate increase roughly once per year.

There are different ways companies institute insurance rate increases. Here is how each CT health insurance company does it:

Aetna

Aetna currently offers a 12 month rate guarantee to new policyholders. One word of warning. If you start your Aetna health insurance policy just before a rate increase you may have two rate increases in quick succession when your policy renews. After that you can expect an increase approximately once per year.

Anthem

Anthem Blue Cross has traditionally had rate changes that have gone into effect on January 1 of a given year and continued through December 31 of that same year. All policyholders are affected by rate adjustment, including those whose policies went into effect on December of the previous year.

Anthem has tried to change that tradition with their recent request to the Connecticut Insurance Department for an October rate increase. The department postponed the effective date of the rate increase until January 1, 2010, so it appears that for the time being the tradition will continue.

Celtic

Celtic insurance [celtic health insurance] health insurance policy has a 12-month rate guarantee for their new policyholders similar to Aetna’s.

Cigna

Cigna health insurance plans are new to the Connecticut individual and family health insurance market. (They have been in the group market for quite some time.) I don’t have their information available at this time, but I plan to update this post next week when I do.

Connecticare

Connecticare has traditionally had the same system as Anthem. They have adjusted their rates on both old and new policyholders on the first of each year. However, they may go to a system where they will have quarterly rate adjustments. They are expected to do that starting in 2010 for existing policyholders. They are also expected to institute a 12 month rate guarantee for new members at that time.

Golden Rule

United Health Care’s Golden Rule policies have a 12 month rate guarantee similar to Aetna’s.

Fortis (Assurant)

I don’t have information available on Fortis health insurance policies at this time, but I plan to update this post next week when I do.

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Alston

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