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New Hampshire schedules premium rate public hearing

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The state of New Hampshire is holding a hearing on premium rates in the health insurance market.

This will be the second in a required series that comes out of a directive for the state’s insurance commissioner to hold an annual public hearing concerning the factors that contributed to rate increases during the prior year.

The state’s major health insurance carriers—Anthem, Harvard Pilgrim, Cigna, MVP Health Care and New Hampshire Health Plan—will be there to provide testimony on unit cost, utilization and cost trends, and answer other questions from the commissioner. Representatives of health care provider groups have also been invited to participate.

The hearing is scheduled for Sept. 24 at 10 a.m. at the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission.

After the first hearing covering 2009 to 2010, the commissioner reported:

  • Premiums grew 14 percent for a fixed benefit package;
  • The average level of benefit coverage dropped 10 percent;
  • Per-person service use declined 2.2 percent;
  • Carrier profits in the state averaged 1.8 percent of premium revenue. With 45 percent of the market, Anthem had an underwriting gain of 6.6 percent—twice the national average of 3.1 percent. Harvard Pilgrim, MVP and Cigna lost money.

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