Tag Archives: Office of the Health Care Advocate

The Curious Case of the Single Intolerable Word

Gather ’round, children, and you shall hear… how Vermont’s biggest health insurer has gotten its knickers in a twist about one single word in a Green Mountain Care Board decision. The word was so objectionable that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont appealed the decision solely because of that word. It did not object to any other part of the ruling.

When the appeal was denied BCBSVT took the case to the Vermont Supreme Court, where it awaits action. Seems like a whole lot of time, trouble and billable hours for a single word, but what do I know.

Let’s go back to the beginning. On May 7, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont filed a request for 2022 insurance rates with the Green Mountain Care Board. The Blues asked for a 7.9% increase on individual policies, and smaller increases for group plans.

The request meandered through a lengthy series of briefs, filings, hearings and testimony. (All can be downloaded from this webpage.) On August 5, the GMCB issued its decision, knocking down the rate hike on individual policies to 4.7%. In its decision, the GMCB characterized the 7.9% request as “excessive.”

There. That’s the fatally toxic word. ‘Excessive.”

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