Barbara Anthony, Undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation
I was in Quincy yesterday morning with Governor Patrick when he announced a series of reforms aimed at helping reduce the rapid cost increases in health insurance premiums for small businesses. It’s an important step that is necessary to help create the best possible environment for health care, and economic recovery, in Massachusetts.
I was part of a team put together by the Governor to consider this issue and possible solutions. We made four recommendations that the Governor discussed today that we will quickly go about investigating and acting on.
Chief among them is the creation of open-access purchasing cooperatives. These cooperatives would give small businesses and individuals the ability to combine their purchasing power and seek out lower premiums through a larger entity. Additionally, we are seeking to expand the Division of Insurance’s ability to review insurance rates, allowing the Division to disapprove of rates that may be unreasonable.
The Governor and I have heard from many small-business owners and organizations that have been grappling with dramatic year-to-year increases in health insurance costs. As the Governor and his team work on creating the best possible environment for business expansion as we start our economic recovery, easing this burden is important.
The Division of Insurance will be holding a number of public meetings over the next few months regarding these important reforms. Those meetings haven’t been set yet, but will be soon. Visit the Division’s website for more information and announcements as we begin this process.