Insurers seek average 20% rate hike on Access Health CT plans in 2023 – The Connecticut Mirror

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Insurance companies selling policies on and off the Connecticut Affordable Care Act exchange are seeking an average 20.4% increase in individual health plans next year, alarming advocates who fear that people give up insurance because they can’t pay.
The rate hike requests were released by the state Department of Insurance on Friday. On small group plans, carriers are asking for an average increase of 14.8%.
The requested increases are significantly higher than those requested last year for 2022 health policies. In 2021, carriers requested an average increase of 8.6% on individual plans and 12.9% on small plans. groups.
“It’s breathtaking,” said Lynne Ide, communications and engagement program manager at the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut. “Looking at these rate requests, the ranges are off the charts.
“Our big concern right now is, coupled with inflation and the fallout from COVID, these proposed increases are causing problems. Our concern is that people are looking at it and deciding to go without health coverage because they just can’t afford it.
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“My jaw hit the ground, obviously,” added Ted Doolittle, the state’s health care advocate. “I am deeply concerned that people will go without coverage because of these high prices. It is the responsibility of insurance companies and providers to explain to the people of the state why this is unavoidable and that there is no alternative.
Three insurers sell policies on the exchange: Anthem Health Plans, CTCare Benefits Inc. and ConnectiCare Insurance Company Inc.
I am deeply concerned that people will be left without coverage because of these high prices.
Anthem requested an average increase of 8.6% for individual policies that cover 27,698 people. The proposed changes range from a decrease of 1.8% to an increase of 16.1%, depending on the plan.
The company also sought an average upside of 3.6% on small group policies that cover 19,271 residents. Suggested changes range from a decrease of 1.2% to an increase of 26.3%.
CTCare Benefits requested an average increase of 24.1% on individual plans which cover 75,003 people. The proposed changes range from an increase of 18.7% to 33.2%, depending on the policy.
He also looked for an average increase of 22.9% on small group plans that cover 3,476 residents (increases range from 20% to 28.9%).
ConnectiCare Insurance Company, which only sells individual policies on the exchange, asked for an average increase of 25.2% for plans that cover 8,782 people. The suggested increases range from 17.1% to 32.2%.
The proposed increases “don’t seem to make sense,” Ide said. “Why would one carrier be asking for 8.6% in the individual market on average and 3.6% in the small group market, and the other carrier would be asking for 24% and 22% in those two markets – it looks like they pulled the numbers out of a hat.
Proposed increases for off-exchange plans also vary, as shown in the table below.
ConnectiCare spokeswoman Kimberly Kann said medical and pharmaceutical costs were among the factors driving the demand for higher rates.
“We remain acutely aware of the impact rate increases have on our members and strive to keep our plans as fair as possible in the reality of today’s healthcare environment,” said Kan in a statement. “Our proposed rates are based on several factors, including medical and pharmaceutical cost trends, as well as the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on our members’ use of services, including obtaining delayed care. Additionally, legislative and regulatory environments continue to present market challenges beyond the Company’s control, including the loss of enhanced advanced premium tax credits provided by the American Rescue Plan Act expiring in 2022, and state-mandated benefits.
“We’re proud to have offered individual plans from the start and look forward to continuing to serve those in need,” Anthem spokesperson Alessandra Simkin said in a statement. “Our filing reflects our experience and ability to deliver on behalf of consumers in this market and we look forward to working with the state as we continue the regulatory process.”
The Department of Insurance will hold a hearing in early August where insurers will have the opportunity to testify about the reasoning behind their proposed increases, and the public will also be able to weigh in. The hearing date has not yet been set.
In addition to carriers, Doolittle said pharmaceutical company officials and medical providers should be present and provide their rationale for rising costs.
“We are in a medical cost crisis,” he said. “The rate review process is the only opportunity, the only public forum, that Connecticutans need to ask, ‘Why? Why are these hospital prices so high? Why are these drug prices so high? The premiums simply reflect the underlying high medical costs.
“Health care costs and insurance premiums are already unaffordable for many Connecticut families, businesses and individuals, and these double-digit rate hikes demand careful consideration,” Attorney General William Tong added in a statement. communicated. “The Department of Insurance has previously agreed to hold public hearings on any rate increases greater than 10%, and that transparency is certainly needed now. We simply cannot allow insurers to assert costs and claims without our own independent analysis and review.
The public can also submit comments online. Comments can be submitted here (under each policy, click the “select” button and fill in the “comments” box, then press “submit comment”).
Insurance department officials will make a decision on pricing for the 2023 plans later this year, usually in September. Last year, although carriers requested an average increase of 8.6% on individual plans, the department instead granted an average increase of 5.6%.
Open registration for Health Policies 2023 begins November 1.
The Connecticut Mirror is a nonprofit newsroom. 88% of our revenue comes from readers like you. If you appreciate our reports, consider making a donation. You’ll have even more fun reading CT Mirror knowing you’re publishing it.
Jenna is the health reporter for CT Mirror, which focuses on health access, affordability, quality, equity and disparities, social determinants of health, health system planning, infrastructure, processes, information systems and other health policies. Prior to joining CT Mirror, Jenna was a reporter at the
Hartford Courant for 10 years, where she consistently won national and regional awards. Jenna holds a Master of Science in Interactive Media from Quinnipiac University and a Bachelor or Diploma of Arts in Journalism from Grand Valley State University.
The Connecticut News Project, Inc. 1049 Asylum Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105. Phone: 860-218-6380

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