By Rosana Garcia
With deadlines fast approaching there has been a recent flurry of activity at Access Health CT.
- After weeks of uncertainly, we finally learned that there are still two carriers offering coverage through Access Health CT: Anthem and ConnectiCare
- Open Enrollment is November 1 to December 22, 2017, which extends the original Open Enrollment period by one week
- Access Health CT selected 10 cities for in-person enrollment locations. Final locations will be announced soon.
- Insurance premium rates are now set: On September 13 the Connecticut Insurance Department released rates for the individual and small group markets, both on and off exchange (Click here for the 2018 rate chart)
- Anthem will have an average 31.7% increase for their Access Health CT plans
- ConnectiCare will have an average 27.7% increase for their AHCT plans
What’s up with the insurance premium rates?
First – if you get help paying your insurance premiums through Access Health CT, you will not see a major increase to your monthly premium!
If you are getting a subsidy (known as an Advance Premium Tax Credit, or APTC), the way the subsidy works is that you only pay a certain percentage of your income in insurance premiums. This means that you may not feel the major rate increase – depending on which plan you choose. Find in-person assistance to help you make the best choice for you, or call AHCT’s call center. Click here to find out how to contact help.
Now let’s get to why insurance premium increases are so high…
There’s been a lot of debate around whether or not the federal government would continue to make cost sharing reduction payments to insurers. The “will they, won’t they” pay back and forth has made for a lot of uncertainty in the market. Uncertainty for insurance markets is a four letter word – and has made for the much-discussed market instability.
The federal government could always commit to making these payments for the 2018 year, but so far they are making month-to-month decisions about the payments.
This week, the Connecticut Insurance Department decided to approve insurance premium rates that assume that the federal government will not pay cost sharing reduction payments. According to Paul Lombardo, staff at the Insurance Department, without these payments, insurance premium rates go up an additional 16.7% on average.
So what happens if the federal government DOES make the payments?
Insurance Commissioner Katherine Wade said that if the federal government does make the payments, she will seek the authority to lower premium rates.
But wait, there’s more…
To dig a little deeper on what happened at the Access Health CT Board Meeting on September 14, click here for the agenda, and here’s the meeting presentation. Plus, CT-N recorded it and you can watch the meeting here.