Insurers selling policies in and out of the Connecticuts Affordable Care Act Exchange are asking for an average 12.4% increase on individual health plans in 2024, lower overall than last year but still higher than last year’s. previous years.
On small group policies, insurers have asked for an average rate hike of 14.8%, the same as in 2022. The state insurance department released the proposed hikes on Friday.
Last year, the companies called for an average 20.4 percent hike on individual health plans, a move one health care advocate called stunning.
The insurance department eventually approved average increases of 12.9% on individual plans and 7.9% on small group policies, although the changes varied by plan. The smallest increase was 6% and the largest 25%.
The 2024 records collectively cover about 188,000 people statewide.
The review process will dig deeper into each claim, requiring insurers to provide justifications and supporting evidence, insurance department officials said in a statement. As always, our rate reviews will be comprehensive, continuing our ongoing efforts to promote transparency and accountability. Using various tools, such as benchmarking and other industry best practices, we strive to maintain a fair and competitive insurance market by prioritizing consumers’ interests.
Actuaries with the department will review raise requests. As part of the review, they will look at trends in unit cost (total expenses incurred by the company), service utilization and expected severity of claims. The department will ask insurers questions and seek clarifications if necessary.
It will also hold a public hearing to get input from carriers, health care advocates, and the public. After review, the department can approve the entire request, reject it, or change it. The final changes are usually published in September.
These rates will simply be unaffordable for too many Connecticut families, individuals and businesses, Attorney General William Tong said Friday. We are carefully reviewing these documents and expect to play an active role in this process.
Three insurers are selling policies on the exchange: Anthem Health Plans, CTCare Benefits Inc. and ConnectiCare Insurance Company Inc.
Anthem sought an average 9.8% increase on individual plans it sells across the exchange covering 33,939 people. The proposed increases range from 6.8% to 13.6%, depending on the plan.
The company also asked for an average increase of 14.9% on small group policies covering 27,565 people. Suggested increases range from 8.9% to 22.1%.
CTCare Benefits Inc. requested an average increase of 12.7% for individual plans covering 64,482 people. The proposed increases range from 10.2% to 15.5%
And the ConnectiCare Insurance Company sought an average 17.5% raise on individual policies covering 11,954 people. Recommended raises range from 10.2% to 22.2%, depending on the plan.
Until this year, CTCare Benefits also sold small group policies on the exchange, but it pulled out, saying it could no longer offer fully insured small employer products at competitive prices. ConnectiCare Insurance does not sell small group plans.
Insurers are also asking for hikes on over-the-counter policies.
Obviously, the numbers are too large as they usually are, said Ted Doolittle, the state’s health care advocate. No one out there is getting a 12.4% pay raise. So it’s the same story that we’ve seen in the last few years a lot more expenses for the average family to absorb.
Doolittle said the rate hikes are causing more people to turn to cheaper health plans that don’t have the same protections the ACA offers, such as limits on discrimination against pre-existing conditions. We continue to see people exodus from ACA plans, which are better plans because they have consumer protection.
He also suggested the state move its rate review process to months when the legislature is in session, so lawmakers can quickly craft bills in response to large proposed hikes. The review process typically takes place during the summer.
Insurers attributed the proposed hikes to the rising cost of prescription drugs, increased demand for medical services and the impact of Medicaid discontinuation, among other changes.
We remain acutely aware of the impact rate increases have on our members, said Kimberly Kann, spokeswoman for ConnectiCare. Our proposed rates are determined by trends in medical and pharmaceutical costs and the care needs of our members. We are committed to supporting the state health insurance market and providing Connecticut residents with high quality health plans, as we have done for over 40 years.
The insurance department will hold an information hearing on rate requests, at which the public is invited to comment. The date of the hearing has not yet been set.
The public can also submit written comments on the departments’ website.
Open enrollment for the 2024 Covered Year begins November 1.
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