ConnectiCare suing state, may leave exchange over denied rate hike

By Kevin Zimmerman

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ConnectiCare is suing the Connecticut Insurance Department (CID) over its denial of the insurer’s proposed rate increases for 2017 health plans, claiming that without those increases, it will be forced to exit the Access Health CT exchange. If it does leave, only Anthem would remain on the exchange.

In its lawsuit filed in New Britain Superior Court, ConnectiCare said CID Commissioner Katharine L. Wade did not fully consider its revised 27.1 percent rate increase for its individual health plans to be sold on the state exchange. On Sept. 2, the CID reduced the proposed rate increase to 17.4 percent following an actuarial review.

The insurer said its proposed higher rate was necessary because HealthyCT and United Healthcare are no longer a part of Access Health CT, as well as the fact that claims paid during the first half of this year were higher than expected. If its proposed 27.1 percent increase is not approved, it said, it will not be able to afford remaining on the exchange in 2017.

ConnectiCare asked for a temporary injunction to reevaluate and vacate the CID’s reduced rate hike.

“We have been doing everything we can to continue to offer quality health plans to our members on the exchange but we do not have the resources to do so at premium rates that could jeopardize our financial stability,” said ConnectiCare President and CEO Michael Wise.

“Over the past three years, our local plan is on course to transfer almost $100 million into a federal risk adjustment system which is not living up to its promise to stabilize the market,” he said. “As a local plan, we cannot sustain this combination of factors into next year.”

“We are taking this legal step to do everything in our power to require the department to approve actuarially sound and stable rates so that we can continue to be the plan on which so many of our citizens depend,” Wise said.

The Connecticut Insurance Department declined to comment.

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