For Immediate Release: 9 August 2016
Contact: Jessica Morrison, 310-560-8193, firstname.lastname@example.org
Healthcare is a Human Right Campaign responds to health insurance rate decision
Montpelier – The Healthcare is a Human Right Campaign today condemned the approval of rate hikes for 2017 Vermont Health Connect plans, noting that increased health insurance costs add to the significant barriers to healthcare and economic insecurity already faced by thousands of Vermont residents. 
Over 140 people submitted public comment overwhelmingly opposed to the proposed rate hikes, while two Green Mountain Care Board members offered dissenting opinions on the BCBS decision, raising concerns about affordability and unnecessarily high administrative costs and salaries.
“Every time insurance rates increase, my family is forced to make decisions about whether to continue to pay for health insurance, whether to pay utility bills, and if we can afford the groceries and gas money and car insurance,” said Barre resident Emily Dwyer. “This is an embarrassing and unsustainable state of affairs, and is not the type of decision any family should be forced to make. Many hard working families are one health crisis away from financial ruin and poverty. We can do better.”
The Healthcare is a Human Right Campaign argues that instead of a system where insurance companies control access to care and raise rates year after year, Vermont must follow through with Act 48 in providing healthcare as a public good, financed equitably based on ability to pay.
“While hospitals, pharmaceutical corporations, and insurance companies make more and more money every year, poor and working families continue to see our wages decline amidst rising costs for fundamental needs like healthcare,” said Jessica Morrison, a Burlington resident and healthcare provider. “The solution to ballooning healthcare costs is right in front of us, already on the books – moving forward with Act 48 and treating healthcare as human right.”
NOTES FOR EDITORS
The Green Mountain Care Board announced late Tuesday that it would approve a 7.3% average annual rate increase for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont plans – affecting more than 77,500 people – along with a 3.7% average annual increase for MVP Health Plan Inc. plans.
Board members Cornelius Hogan and Allan Ramsay filed dissenting opinions. Ramsay stated, “Nonprofit insurers should not be retaining excessive reserves simply to cover administrative costs, pay unreasonably high salaries, or provide other forms of compensation to their management.” Link: http://ratereview.vermont.gov/sites/dfr/files/2016/BCBSVT/008_16rr_BCBSVT_Final.pdf