CT Health Insurance Rates Poised to Rise in 2018

For people or businesses purchasing health insurance plans for 2018, they are likely to see higher premiums than 2017.

Insurers provided their proposed rate increases to the State Department of Insurance for plans that would be offered for purchase both on Access Health Connecticut and off the state's healthcare marketplace.

Connecticare and Anthem filed rate increases, signaling that each would remain on Access Health.

Connecticare attempted to leave Access Health CT last year after its rate increases were scaled back considerably by the Department of Insurance.

In 2016, there were five insurers offering plans, but by 2017 there only two.

For group plans on Access Health Connecticut, Connecticare and Anthem are looking to raise rates by an average of 8.8 percent and 31.6 percent, respectively.

For individual plans offered on the exchange, Connecticare and Anthem are proposing rate increases that average 15.2 percent and 33.8 percent respectively.

The overarching justification from all insurers, which includes companies like United Health, Harvard Pilgrim, Aetna, and Oxford Health that are offering plans off of Access Health Connecticut, is that more people require healthcare services and more people need prescription drugs. The companies argue their proposed rate increases are justified since they have to provide more healthcare services than in the past.

Connecticut is also reeling from what the possible fallout could be if the Republican-passed healthcare bill becomes law. The US Senate still needs to act, but leadership there has said the final bill will not be the House version.

That's the hope of Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, who's led the state's efforts to comply as much as possible with the Affordable Care Act.

“I think the only thing redeeming in it is that it’s going to go to the Senate and hopefully they will change it because right now there is nothing in that bill that’s going to protect people from losing health insurance," Wyman said during an interview Tuesday.

Others, like community health centers are fearful that their patients may no longer have coverage due to funding cuts contained in the bill.

For Medicaid specifically, healthcare for the poor, a scaleback of Medicaid expansion or payments to states could lead to fewer people receiving care and less money for hiring.

“Obviously if there are cuts to Medicaid, to the Medicaid program, we won’t be able to afford staff salaries, or clinical staff salaries. So, all of that affects a patient’s ability to gain access to quality care," said Nichelle Mullins, President & CEO of Charter Oak Health in Hartford.

Mullins said she's seen firsthand how more people than ever have received healthcare as a result of the law that was the hallmark of the Obama administration.

“Those are the people who now have access to care and they are at risk of losing their care.”

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