Health Care Rates on Access Health CT May Go Up - NBC Connecticut
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Health Care Rates on Access Health CT May Go Up

Insurance Department Reviewing Rate Hike Applications

Four health insurers are hoping to raise premiums. (Published Friday, May 8, 2015)

Four major health care providers that offer plans on Connecticut's health insurance marketplace have filed for rate increases for the upcoming open enrollment period that begins Nov. 1, 2015.

The proposals filed would not affect plans purchased for the 2015 coverage year.

The following increases have been proposed: 2 percent for ConnectiCare, 6.7 percent for Anthem, 12.4 percent for United Healthcare and 13.96 percent for Healthy CT.

Actuaries with the Connecticut Department of Insurance will review the proposals before final decisions are made some time in August.

"They can accept them as they are, they can reduce them or they can deny them outright," said Gerard O'Sullivan, the department's director of consumer affairs. "All of this has to do with the costs that occur from health treatment."

All four providers cited increased medical costs as the reason for the proposals. A change under the Affordable Care Act also cuts the amount insurance providers can get reimbursed from the federal government for some procedures.

The government currently reimburses providers 70 percent for procedures costing between $45,000 and $250,000, but the lower threshold will increase to $90,000, which means more health care companies have to pay for pricier procedures.

O'Sullivan described the Affordable Care Act as a "whole new world" in the way insurance providers interact with customers.

According to Access Health, the increased premium could affect customers' eligibility to receive federal subsidies to help them pay for coverage, especially if the individual's income stays the same.

O'Sullivan urged customers to compare prices against plans to find a cheaper alternative if it turns out that they will have to pay more for coverage.

"They do have options," O'Sullivan said. "During the open enrollment period, they can shop around and they can talk to agents and they can go on the exchange, Access Health CT and see what makes the most sense for them."

In the meantime, customers can log onto ct.gov/cid and click on the "health insurance rate filing" to weigh in on the rate hike proposed for their specific plan.

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