Access Health CT CEO Jim Wadleigh is sounding the alarm about the future of the state’s health insurance exchange, in the face of continued efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and the possibility of the exits of Anthem and ConnectiCare, AHCT’s only remaining carriers.
Regarding the first possibility, Wadleigh cited a recent report by the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center stating that the number of uninsured residents under the age of 65 in New Haven and Waterbury would be nearly twice as high without the ACA. Bridgeport’s uninsured rate for nonelderly residents would be more than 50 percent higher and Hartford’s would be more than 60 percent higher, according to the report.
Wadleigh said the uninsured rate now stands at 8 percent among Connecticut’s black residents, 14 percent among its Latinos, 5 percent among its women and 12 percent among its young adults. Without ACA, also known as Obamacare, those rates would be 15 percent, 22 percent, 10 percent, and 12 percent, respectively.
As for the exchange’s relationship with the two insurance carriers, Wadleigh said, “As I have been saying for the past four months, this is a threat knocking on our doors for the next open enrollment. Come the first week in September, there is a chance that the two insurance companies currently participating and offering plans through Access Health CT will leave the individual market on-exchange. This would have a dramatic impact on our state budget, our health care system and most important, the people we serve.”
From a state budget perspective, there would be a shift in cost allocation from the exchange to the state of close to $20 million in the first year alone, Wadleigh said. “Second, our health care system could see an increase in uncompensated care – more visits to emergency room – and a potential decrease in organizational productivity due to employees getting or staying sick,” he said.
Wadleigh also cited the following dates as key indicators of where health insurance is headed:
- Aug. 16: Health insurers on the Federally Facilitated Marketplace can make final adjustments to their proposed 2018 premiums.
- Aug. 21: Next round of Cost Sharing Reduction payments to be made.
- Sept. 1: Expected 2018 Individual Market rate approval date for CT Insurance Department.
- Sept. 4: U.S. Senate starts hearings on individual market.
- Sept. 6: Last day for Connecticut carriers to notify Access Health CT if they plan to not participate on the exchange.
- Sept. 20: Another round of CSR payments to be made by federal government.
- Nov. 1: Open enrollment for Access Health CT.
“With all the uncertainty coming out of Washington, D.C., I want to remind Access Health CT customers that their current health care coverage will remain the same through December 31, 2017,” Wadleigh said. “No changes will occur to deductibles, co-pays or benefits, no matter what they may hear.”