Health insurance in Connecticut
- COVID-19 special enrollment period for uninsured residents continues through April 17, 2020.
- Connecticut enrolls through a state-run health insurance exchange.
- Open enrollment for 2020 plans was extended through January 15, 2020.
- Two insurers – Anthem and Connecticare Benefits – offer 2020 coverage through the Connecticut exchange.
- The average individual market premium increase for 2019 was 2.72%; for 2020, it was 3.65%. In the small group market, it was 9.2%.
- Nearly 108,000 enrolled in 2020 coverage through the Connecticut exchange.
- Connecticut was the first state to adopt the ACA’s Medicaid expansion.
- Connecticut limits short-term plan duration to six months, with no renewals, and also requires them to cover essential health benefits as of 2019. As a result, there are no insurers offering short-term plans in the state.
Special enrollment period to help uninsured people gain coverage during coronavirus pandemic
To address the COVID-19 pandemic, AccessHealth CT, the state-run exchange in Connecticut, began allowing uninsured residents to enroll in health plans starting in March 2020. The COVID-19 special enrollment period has since extended it through April 17. Uninsured residents can obtain coverage by calling the exchange at 1-855-365-2428. Enrollments completed between April 3 and April 17 will have coverage effective May 1.
Connecticut’s health marketplace
Access Health CT is a successful state-run exchange that dodged many of the technology problems that plagued other exchanges over the first few years of operation. Open enrollment for 2020 coverage in Connecticut was extended through January 15, 2020 (the second year in a row that AccessHealth CT issued a last-minute extension).
Two carriers – Anthem and ConnectiCare – are offering 2020 coverage through Access Health CT. The average rate increase for 2019 individual market plans was 2.72 percent, and for 2020, it was 3.65 percent, including plans sold on- and off-exchange (for small group plans, nearly all of which are only sold off-exchange, it was 9.2 percent).
As of 2019, pregnancy is a qualifying event that allows a woman to enroll in ACA-compliant individual market coverage in Connecticut.
Read more about Connecticut’s health insurance marketplace.
Medicaid expansion in Connecticut
In 2010, Connecticut was the first state to adopt Medicaid expansion, and it again expanded eligibility criteria for the program at the beginning of 2014.
As of December 2019, 850,657 people were covered by HUSKY Health – Connecticut’s Medicaid and CHIP program.
Read more about Medicaid and the ACA’s Medicaid expansion in Connecticut.
Short-term health insurance in Connecticut
In 2018, the Trump administration relaxed the rules on the duration of short-term health insurance plans, but the rules allow states to continue to impose more strict restrictions, and Connecticut does.
The state already limited short-term plans to no more than six months in duration, and prohibited renewals. Starting in 2019, Connecticut began requiring short-term health plans to cover essential health benefits. As a result, there are no longer any insurers offering short-term plans in the state.
Read more about short-term health insurance in Connecticut.
How Obamacare is helping Connecticut’s uninsured
Connecticut opted for a state-based exchange, Access Health CT, and expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The state’s uninsured rate has dropped considerably since the ACA was implemented. In 2017, Connecticut’s uninsured rate was among the lowest in the country, though the number of uninsured crept back up in 2018. According to official US Census data, the uninsured rate in Connecticut dropped from 9.4 percent in 2013 to 5.3 percent in 2018.
Connecticut and the Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act was unanimously supported by Connecticut’s delegation to the U.S. Congress. Sen. Christopher Dodd, a Democrat, and Joseph Lieberman, an Independent, both voted to pass the Affordable Care Act in 2010, as did all five of Connecticut’s Democratic representatives.
Both senators have since left office, with Dodd replaced by Richard Blumenthal and Lieberman replaced by Chris Murphy. Both Blumenthal and Murphy are Democrats and supportive of the ACA. All five of the state’s Representatives are still Democrats as of 2020.
Connecticut state lawmakers passed legislation authorizing a state-run insurance marketplace in 2011, and then Governor Dan Malloy signed the bill into law on July 1, 2011. Malloy was re-elected in 2014. Current Governor, Ned Lamont, who is also a Democrat, took office in 2019.
The state marketplace was named Access Health CT in December 2012. Access Health CT has been one of the country’s most successful marketplaces, with few technical problems and robust enrollment. Access Health CT’s CEO, Kevin Counihan, was named CEO of Healthcare.gov in August 2014.
Does Connecticut have a high-risk pool?
Prior to the reforms the ACA brought to the individual health insurance market, coverage was underwritten in nearly every state, including Connecticut. That left people with pre-existing conditions often unable to purchase a plan at all, or only eligible for coverage that excluded pre-existing conditions or charged premiums significantly higher than the standard rates.
The Connecticut Health Reinsurance Association (HRA) was created in 1976 to give people an alternative if they were ineligible to purchase individual health insurance because of their medical history. (Only Minnesota has a high risk pool as old as Connecticut’s.)
Since January 2014, all new major medical policies in the individual market have been guaranteed issue, thanks to the ACA. This means that there is no longer a need for high-risk pools the way there was in the past. Connecticut’s HRA board voted to discontinue new member enrollment at the end of 2013, but they did not immediately cancel coverage for existing members. Ultimately, HRA plans remained in effect throughout 2017, but were terminated at the end of 2017. All remaining HRA members needed to switch to new plans for 2018.
Medicare enrollment in Connecticut
Connecticut Medicare enrollment reached 686,102 as of late 2019. About 44 percent of those enrollees had private Medicare Advantage plans, while the other 56 percent were covered under Original Medicare.
Helpful Connecticut health insurance links
- Connecticut CHOICES Program – free counseling for Medicare beneficiaries
- Connecticut Health Reinsurance Association
- Connecticut Health Reinsurance Association
- Connecticut Insurance Department
- Husky Healthcare
CT health reform at the state level
Here is what’s happening legislatively with healthcare reform in Connecticut at the state level: