Home Fairfield Connecticut Insurance Dept. slashes insurers’ rate hike requests

Connecticut Insurance Dept. slashes insurers’ rate hike requests

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The Connecticut Insurance Department has made what it said are its final decisions on the health insurance rate filings for the 2019 coverage year – and they’re significantly lower than what insurers were seeking.

The CID ruled that the average increase for individual plans is 2.72 percent, down from the average request of about 12 percent. The average increase for small group plans is 3.14 percent, down from the requested average of just over 10 percent.

“Medical trend – the cost of medical services and the demand for those services – continues to be the main cost driver, and we need to work with all stakeholders to reduce the cost of health care, which drives increases in health insurance premiums,” said CID Commissioner Katharine L. Wade.

“For the first time,” she continued, “there will be more choice of innovative networks and plan cost-sharing options for consumers on the exchange. The department has worked closely with the Access Health CT (AHCT) board and the exchange carriers to ensure a variety of meaningful options.”

Wade said that regulators believe the impact from federal health care policies will be less than the industry has warned. The CID determined that there will be limited impact from a lack of enforcement of the individual mandate that is a key component of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, as the federal government officially removed the mandate effective next year.

The CID further determined that there will be marginal impact from the federal government’s new regulations for short-term, limited-duration health plans and association health plans.

Carriers filed their rates in July while still awaiting clarification from Washington, which came later in the summer. After a review of state laws and regulations and the federal regulations, the CID provided guidance last month in two bulletins, HC-121 and HC-123.

For rates on AHCT, the CID scaled back an average 9.1 percent increase for individual coverage sought by Anthem Health Plans to a cut of 2.7 percent. That sector covers about 46,000 people.

For ConnectiCare Benefits Inc., a request for an average 13 percent increase was reduced to 4 percent. ConnectiCare covers about 64,000 people on the exchange.

For small groups, Anthem’s 9.9 percent increase was reduced to 2.9 percent, while ConnectiCare’s 5.7 percent increase was cut to zero.

Anthem and ConnectiCare – the only insurers on the exchange – said they are reviewing the CID decision. Both have left open the possibility of leaving AHCT in the past.

AHCT’s open enrollment period for the 2019 coverage year runs from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15.

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