The mystery over whether ConnectiCare would stay on or exit the state's Access Health CT insurance exchange ended late on Sept. 13, when the insurer said it would remain.
At issue was a disagreement between ConnectiCare and the Connecticut Insurance Department over a proposed rate hike. Earlier this year, the insurer sought an increase of 14.3 percent, later revised to 17.4 percent and ultimately climbing to 27.1 percent. When the Insurance Department approved the 17.4 percent increase, ConnectiCare sought a court injunction to invalidate the decision. It was denied by a Superior Court judge in New Britain on Sept. 9.
That same day. ConnectiCare sent a letter to Access Health CT saying it was terminating its agreement. Although AHCT announced its receipt of the letter and seemed to acquiesce to the termination, ConnectiCare President and CEO Michael Wise insisted the company was still "actively working" to find a mutually acceptable arrangement allowing it to remain on the exchange.
late on Sept. 13, Wise released another statement announcing that the insurer would remain with AHCT with the 17.4 percent increase.
'Throughout the rate-setting process, ConnectiCare has emphasized its goal of remaining on the Connecticut health insurance exchange in a manner that is fiscally responsible," Wise said in the statement. "After hearing from state officials, providers and beneficiaries about the importance of our plan to Connecticut, we have decided to move forward into 2017 as a plan on the exchange at the rates approved by the department."
ConnectiCare has withdrawn its legal appeals and rescinded its Sept. 9 termination notice in a letter to the exchange. Wise said.
The statement left open the possibility that the rate-hike issue may arise again. "We look forward to continuing to partner with the department and the exchange to continue to meet this promise and to address the broader policy issues, such as risk adjustment, that affect the sustainability of the health insurance market place," Wise said.
For now, however, it appears both sides are heaving sighs of relief.
Gov. Dannel Malloy said ConnectiCare's decision "is welcome news, as many Connecticut residents who depend on the carrier for their health care services will continue to benefit from their inclusion in the exchange."
"Recent data show that Access Health CT has brought the number of uninsured people in our state to its lowest rate in history, and among the lowest rates in the country," Malloy said. "Our administration will continue working to ensure that Connecticut remains a leader in implementing an exchange that provides quality, secure, and affordable health care to all of our state's families."
ConnectiCare covers 47,597 people through the exchange. Had it exited, only Anthem would have remained with AHCT, following United Healthcare's decision in April to leave most Obamacare-created insurance exchanges and the Insurance Department's July decision to prevent the financially strapped HealthyCT from continuing to do business.