As expected, a ruling was issued yesterday in the request for injunction by six health insurance companies in Massachusetts. A judge in Boston denied the request by six Massachusetts health insurance companies for an injunction which would allow them to implement increases to their health insurance premiums from 8% to 32%. The six health insurance companies who made the request for injunction were Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Tufts Health Plan, Fallon Community Health Plan, Health New England, and Neighborhood Health Plan.
Suffolk Superior Court Judge Stephen E. Neel’s decision means that the state Division of Insurance’s rejection of 235 proposed health insurance premium increases stands for now and no increases to those health insurance premiums will be going into effect.
However, the reason Judge Neel denied the injunction is because he accepted the state’s argument that the health insurance companies must go through administrative channels before they turn to the courts for relief. “Because plaintiffs have not exhausted their administrative remedies, and because they have not demonstrated that they are otherwise entitled to injunctive relief, their motion for preliminary injunction will be denied,” wrote Judge Neel.
That means that that this battle is not over. The health insurance companies may continue to fight to increase their health insurance premiums by appealing the denials through the state insurance division. If the health insurance companies do not win there (and it’s unlikely the insurance division is going to go back on itself), they may continue their fight back in the courts.
But again, for now the denials stand. None of the health premium increases will be going into effect, and if you are a Massachusetts resident and have already started paying increased health premiums, you may be due a refund or credit for the difference.
We’ll continue watching this battle in Massachusetts, so stay tuned with us over here at MyHealthCafe.com.
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