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Health insurers pushed to cut rates

Faced with soaring costs, vanishing resources, and an expected jump in enrollment, regulators in charge of the Massachusetts health insurance law pushed insurers yesterday to cut rates for 160,000 low- and moderate-income residents who receive state-subsidized care. Regulators and healthcare advocates warned that cuts would probably mean that insurance plans will offer patients a much narrower choice of hospitals and physicians, and more restrictions on use of specialists. But as other cash-strapped states sharply cut care for poor residents, Massachusetts regulators said their new strategy to pare costs will keep copayment increases modest and ensure good-quality coverage under the state's landmark health insurance law and serve as a blueprint for the nation.
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