Following the U.S. House of Representatives’ controversial vote to replace the Affordable Care Act comes news that the two health insurers on Connecticut’s exchange have submitted their requested rates for individual and small-business policies sold in 2018.
And while increases were expected, the size of them are still eye-opening: the top requested increase is for up to 52.1 percent.
That’s part of Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield’s proposal, which seeks premium increases between 19 to 52.1 percent depending on the policy. For plans covering individuals and their families, the insurer is seeking an average hike of 33.8 percent.
Noting that it provides access to care for more than 55,000 individual members on and off the exchanges, Anthem said that its new rate filings “reflect increases in the cost of delivering medical services coupled with pharmacy expenses and overall increased use of health care services by members in ACA-compliant plans.”
The rates assume that cost-sharing reduction subsidies will be funded – something that remains uncertain in the current volatile environment.
“We are notifying state officials that if we do not have certainty that CSRs will be funded for 2018 by early June, we will need to evaluate appropriate adjustments to our filings such as requesting additional rate increases, eliminating certain product offerings or exiting certain Individual ACA compliant markets altogether,” Anthem said.
Meanwhile, ConnectiCare is seeking an average rate hike of 15.2 percent on policies it sells through Access Health CT, where it covers about 51,000 people, and an average 10-26.37 percent rate hike on plans it sells off the exchange, which cover about 37,000 people.
“We are extremely mindful of the impact that rate increases have on our members and have taken every possible step to keep our plans as fairly priced as possible within the reality of today’s health care environment,” the company said in a statement. “Our proposed rates are based on several factors including medical and pharmacy cost trends and expected utilization of services by our members.
“In addition, the current legislative and regulatory environments present market uncertainties that are outside of the company’s control including the primary risks of a weakening of the individual mandate, uncertainty of funding for cost share reductions and our position in the competitive landscape,” it continued.
“In the 2018 rates we are seeing claims experience that reflects increased medical and prescription drug costs along with higher utilization as well as uncertainty in the marketplace,” state Insurance Commissioner Katharine L. Wade said. “I will continue to work across the administration and with our Congressional delegation to advocate for market stability for 2018 and beyond to protect Connecticut consumers.”
Wade noted that, as she has done the past two years, she will call for public hearings on the rate increases, which will be held on June 14. The carriers have until May 15 to make adjustments to their proposals, she said.