Bill would allow Conn. exchange to negotiate

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow the state's health insurance marketplace, Access Health CT, to negotiate prices with the insurance companies selling products through the exchange.

Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, a New Haven Democrat, contends the legislation could lead to lower prices for Connecticut consumers.

The legislation is scheduled to be discussed Tuesday during a public hearing before the legislature's Insurance Committee. Under the bill, the Department of Insurance would keep its authority to approve or reject insurer's rates. But currently, Looney said, that action is based on whether the rates are actuarially sound.

The Department of Insurance opposes the bill, saying it's unnecessary. In written testimony, the agency mentioned how it approved rates that were "significantly lower" than the rates originally submitted by the insurers.

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