Other state exchange premiums better than expected, Connecticut needs to act

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Premiums for next year in other state exchanges are coming in and they are getting better news than Connecticut. Vermont and Rhode Island exchanges are seeing no rate increases and improved benefit packages. Maryland’s and California’s increases are far less than expected. Rates for Oregon and Washington actually dropped, in some cases significantly. In Oregon, two insurers withdrew their proposals to submit new lower rates to match competitors.
So far in our state, ConnectiCare and HealthyCT have proposed monthly average premiums of $397 and $427 for individuals in the exchange. It is estimated that individual premiums in our state averaged $306 per month across all markets in 2010 and eHealthInsurance.com offerings in February 2012 averaged $207 per month in Connecticut. It is important to note that uninsured Connecticut residents couldn’t afford even these rates.
The Connecticut exchange rate proposals are now under review by the insurance department and other insurer proposals may be coming. But there are several options available to Connecticut policymakers to control rates in the exchange; many have already been adopted by other states. Policymakers need to move quickly to help keep insurance affordable for Connecticut consumers and small businesses.