Hartford's Old State House (AP photo/Bob Child)

An insurer wants to cut health maintenance organization (HMO) rates for 12 lucky employers in Connecticut in 2014.

The insurer, CIGNA Healthcare of Connecticut, has asked the Connecticut Insurance Department for permission to cut rates for the HMOs an average of 0.6 percent in the coming year.

Regulators are using italics and bold type on their website to indicate that CIGNA Healthcare, a unit of Cigna Corp. (NYSE:CI), is actually asking for a rate decrease, not an increase.

Company representatives were not available to comment on the rate filing.

The company held down coverage costs by eliminating some pharmacy fees, officials say in a filing summary.

The company also is “citing a leveling off of the impact of any new pricing mandates from the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA),” officials say.

In the new 2014 rate filing, CIGNA has included a discussion of PPACA pricing effects that’s similar to a discussion it included in a 2013 rate filing.

At CIGNA’s large HMO groups in Connecticut:

  • The ban on lifetime benefits limits is increasing rates 0 percent to 1 percent.
  • The preventive services coverage mandate is increasing rates 0 percent to 3 percent.
  • Expansion of access to dependent coverage is increasing rates 0 percent to 1.75 percent.
  • Changes in out-of-pocket maximum limits and co-payment accumulation rules is increasing rates 0 percent to 5 percent.
  • The new claim decision appeals process, coverage definitions, rescission limits and ban on use of pre-existing condition information in decisions on whether to issue coverage to children have had no effect.

CIGNA does not talk about the effects of the new PPACA health insurance tax or the possible cost of the new PPACA risk-management programs in the filing.

Another carrier, Anthem, a unit of WellPoint Inc. (NYSE:WLP), has estimated in its filings that the PPACA preventive health services mandate is increasing coverage costs by about 0.1 percent. Anthem did not talk about the effects of other PPACA changes.

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