Consumer advocate barred from insurance rate hearing; state won’t say why

July 23, 2018

VTDigger

Vermont’s health care oversight board blocked the designated consumer advocate on health care matters from weighing in on affordability during a hearing Monday on health insurance rates for the coming year, yielding to a request from the state’s largest insurers.

Kevin Mullin, chair of the Green Mountain Care Board, confirmed Monday afternoon that the board upheld a motion from insurance companies to exclude a report and testimony by Mike Fisher, the state’s designated health care advocate, from hearings this week on rate changes. He declined to say why.
In a phone call Monday evening, Mullin and Judy Henkin, the board’s general counsel, again declined to explain the decision, saying that a transcript from the hearing would be available for review later this week.

Sara Teachout, spokesperson for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont, said that her organization filed to dismiss the inclusion of Fisher’s testimony as an “expert witness” because he did not meet the legal criteria for providing expert testimony.

“They are parties to the hearing,” Teachout said of the office of the health care advocate, which is part of Vermont Legal Aid. “It was just the type of testimony he was trying to introduce.”  continue reading at website...