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**The following is written testimony from Nancy Wyman that was submitted today at a state Department of Insurance public hearing on proposed Medigap premium increases by Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Connecticut.
As State Comptroller and the daughter of parents with serious health care needs, I would like to express my concern over the proposed premium rate increases for Medicare supplemental insurance by Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Connecticut.
Medical costs are a daily, growing burden on the elderly. Millions of seniors, many on fixed incomes and receiving Medicare, annually spend about a quarter of their income on health insurance and their many medical needs.
Some 70-percent of Medicare beneficiaires across the country also have supplemental policies that provide coverage not given by Medicare. Raising premiums for these policies would only worsen the financial and emotionial strain they face in trying to pay for this vital aspect of their health insurance plan.
For example, one elderly woman who I know would pay about $12 more per month, or $133 monthly, for Medigap coverage under the proposed rate hike. While that may seem a modest jump, consider that it is nearly equal to her last Social Security cost-of-living increase of about $16 a month.
As Comptroller, I am responsible for procuring and administering health insurance for 166,000 state employees and their dependents. The state also provides supplemental medical coverage for about 27,000 Medicare-enrolled retirees and their dependents.
Just as our senior citizens can little afford to devote more of their limited incomes to health insurance, I am concerned about the effect this increase could have on the state budget in future years.
I ask you to seriously consider the day-to-day hardship this proposal would create for our seniors and other citizens versus this insurance company's desire for profit.
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For Immediate Release
November 13, 1997
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