Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield has informed the state that it might leave Access Health CT, Connecticut’s health insurance exchange, in 2018.
Insurance companies are required by federal law to notify states six months in advance of the expiration of policy coverage on health insurance exchanges such as Access Health CT, which currently offers plans by Anthem and ConnectiCare. The latter insurer struggled with whether to remain on the exchange last fall before ultimately deciding to do so.
Jill Hummel, president and general manager of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Connecticut, informed Access Health CT CEO Jim Wadleigh, Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Katharine Wade and Victoria Veltri, the state’s health care advocate, in an email that the insurer could follow through with a formal statement of intent to leave the exchange later this year.
Hummel’s action echoes that of Anthem President and CEO Joseph R. Swedish, who, in a Mar. 9 letter to Republican chairmen of the House Energy Committee and House Ways and Means Committee, said that “without significant regulatory and statutory changes to the individual market, we will begin to ‘surgically extract’ Anthem from that market beginning in 2018.”
Swedish expressed enthusiasm for Republicans’ pending American Health Care Act, which is designed to replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. “The American Health Care Act addresses the challenges immediately facing the individual market and will ensure more affordable health plan choices for consumers in the short term, including through the expanded use of health savings accounts,” he wrote.
“While Anthem hasn’t given formal notice of their intent, if they pull out of national insurance markets in 2018, it will have an impact on individual health plans in Connecticut and on the state’s health care exchange,” said Connecticut Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, who also serves as chair of the Access Health board. “They have been a good partner in our state, and we hope they will continue to be.”
“Nothing will change for Anthem customers for 2017,” Wyman added. “As always, the Connecticut Insurance Department and Access Health CT will be prepared to assist consumers should health care coverage options change in 2018.”
Anthem provided a statement reading simply, “We have served the Connecticut individual market for a long time and have been strong partners to Access Health CT since its creation. We are in the process of formulating our 2018 rates and making our decisions about future participation. Anthem is committed to working with all the parties to find solutions.”
Anthem accounts for roughly 34,500, or 31 percent, of the state’s health exchange customers.