Anthem and ConnectiCare Propose Increase in Health Insurance Rate in Connecticut in 2021
Two leading health insurance companies Anthem and ConnectiCare that cover more than 97,000 Connecticut residents have proposed an average rate increase of 9.9% and 5.5% for the year 2021. According to these companies, the rising cost of medical services and COVID-19 is the main cause behind this rate increase for the next year, whereas in reality there is a lot more that is contributing to this rate increase. Both of these carriers are associating the rise in health care costs to an increase in the demand for medical services and a rise in the costs of prescription drugs. As per the ConnectiCare CEO Eric Galvin, the prescription drug cost is the biggest single cost that has accelerated year over year at a rate disproportionate to other types of services.
According to Lynne Ide of the Universal Healthcare Foundation, those rate increase will have a serious impact on consumers. According to him, during COVID time people are feeling economic insecurity and many people are also experiencing economic hardship. Any increase in the health insurance price will really become worrisome for the people. With the penalty being removed for the people who don’t buy health insurance, there has been a significant drop in the number of people enrolling in the health plans because they are unable to afford coverage. The uninsured number in Connecticut since the start of the pandemic has increased from 5% to about 10%.
Rate Increase Proposed by Anthem
Anthem Health Plans has proposed a 9.9% average increase in its individual plans that serve about 22,000 people on and off the exchange. The company has calculated the increase in price due to the rise in medical costs and an increase in demand for those medical services. Besides, the company is seeking a 9.5% average increase for its small group plans that serve 22,500 residents and their dependents on and off the exchange. These plans are designed for employers with 50 or fewer employees.
Rate Increase Proposed by ConnectiCare
ConnectiCare Benefits covers around 75,000 people and has proposed an average increase of 5.5% in its individual plans on the exchange. The company said that rising medical expenses and demand are the reason behind the increase in costs. Besides, even COVID-19 related services are also accounting for 1.6% of the proposed premium increase.
The State Insurance Department is Reviewing the Proposals
The state department of insurance will examine the rate increase proposal with a fine-tooth comb on September 2 to ensure that the requested rates are consistent with state law. They have further ensured that they will do everything to protect Connecticut health consumers during the time of the COVID crisis. In the previous year, Anthem sought a 15.2% average increase for the individual plan but the insurance department approved only a 6.5% hike. The proposed rate increase if accepted by the department would go into effect from Jan 1. On the rate increase matter, the state insurance department will hold a public hearing on September 2 and after that insurance, regulators will make a final decision on the rates. However, if people have to choose between keeping a roof over their heads or feeding their kid, then people might decide to not opt for coverage and take their chances.