2020 insurance premium requests increase lower for individuals on AccessHealthCT, most of whom are subsidized, older and higher risk

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Connecticut insurers have filed their requests for individual and small group premium increases for 2020 with the CT Insurance Dept. Requests vary from an average reduction of 9.8% for CTCare individual plans outside AccessHealthCT, our state’s insurance exchange, to 22% average increases for Aetna small group plans also outside AccessHealthCT. Six in ten people in the individual and small group markets buy AccessHealthCT plans, but that ratio varies substantially with 91% of individuals on the exchange but only 34% of small groups. This year, insurance costs 71% of enrollees in AccessHealthCT are subsidized by the federal government based on income, not on healthcare or coverage prices. Many of these plans, both on and off the exchange, cover small numbers of people. Adjusting for the number of covered lives, average increases for plans on and off the exchange don’t vary much (9.8% and 10.6% respectively).

However, when the numbers are broken down, a surprising difference appears. Rate requests for individuals covered on the exchange are up 7.6% while requests for individuals off the exchange are up 10.0% and for small businesses in both markets are up 12.1%. This is unexpected as AccessHealthCT individuals, on average, have higher risk scores, are older than those off the exchange, and costs for most are subsidized.

The CT Insurance Department is reviewing insurers’ rate requests and may require changes. A public hearing is scheduled for 9 am on September 4th at CID offices, 153 Market St. Hartford, 7th floor conference room.