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Health reform leads to reduction in Aetna insurance premiums Posted: May 12th, 2011

By Maryalene LaPonsie

While health insurance policyholders across the nation have seen their rates rise each year, 2011 might be the year some Connecticut residents see their premium bills shrink. Hartford-based Aetna has filed with the Connecticut Department of Insurance to reduce health insurance rates by an average of 10 percent this fall in the state.

The filing comes in response to a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act pertaining to medical loss ratios (MLR). Under the health reform law, MLRs - that is, the percentage of premium dollars spent on direct patient care - must be between 80 percent and 85 percent depending on the type of health plan. Health insurance companies that fail to meet the mandated MLR must issue rebates to policyholders for any excessive premiums collected.

In Aetna's case, the company expects to pay rebates in 2011 on its Comprehensive Medical Expense and Limited Medical Expense health plans. In addition, if approved by the Connecticut Department of Insurance, health insurance premiums would be reduced on Sept. 1 to stabilize rates.

Overall, 9,745 policyholders could see a decline in their health insurance bills. While the average decline for all plans will be 10 percent, individual Aetna health plans will experience rate reductions ranging from 5 percent to 19.5 percent.