Malloy says ConnectiCare will stay with Access Health CT - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Malloy says ConnectiCare will stay with Access Health CT

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ConnectiCare. (WFSB photo) ConnectiCare. (WFSB photo)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

It was being called another casualty of Obamacare in Connecticut.

On Monday, ConnectiCare announced that it was cutting ties with Access Health CT. 

The insurer had said it would not sell on the exchange next year, but on Tuesday Gov. Dannel Malloy said ConnectiCare will stay with Access Health CT.

The decision to pull out of the exchange had came after the insurance department denied a more than 27 percent rate increase for its individual health plans.

It claimed that without the increase, it cannot afford to participate in Access Health CT.

"The decision made today by ConnectiCare is welcome news as many Connecticut residents who depend on the carrier for their healthcare services will continue to benefit from their inclusion in the exchange. Hundreds of thousands of people in our state are benefitting from Obamacare, many of whom either previously had no healthcare at all or lacked quality coverage. Recent data shows 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. Our administration will continue working to ensure that Connecticut remains a leader in implementing an exchange that provides quality, secure, and affordable healthcare to all of our state's families. I thank Lt. Governor Wyman, Access Health CT, the Insurance Department, and ConnectiCare for quickly working to find a solution that ultimately is in the best interest of Connecticut residents," Gov. Dannel Malloy said in a statement.

Access Health CT confirmed that ConnectiCare sent a letter last week, informing the exchange of its decision.

Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, chair of the Board of Access Health CT, along with CEO Jim Wadleigh, said on Monday that the letter was forwarded to the Connecticut Insurance Department for regulatory review.

"Access Health CT’s number one priority has always been and continues to be our customers," Wyman and Wadleigh said in a joint statement. "We are a national leader in healthcare because we are 100 percent committed to ensuring that Connecticut residents have access to affordable, high quality healthcare. ConnectiCare’s decision is certainly a challenge, but AHCT will continue to adapt to the changing healthcare market with an eye on ensuring our consumers the best options."

On Tuesday, after the decision to stay with Access Health CT was made, Wyman said "This is very good news for Connecticut consumers and for our healthcare marketplace. Since the inception of the Affordable Care Act, Connecticut's top priority has been expanding access to healthcare - ensuring that preventative care, treatment for chronic conditions, and a healthcare home would be available to everyone no matter their income, gender, or health status. ConnectiCare has been a valuable partner in this effort to build a healthier state, a stronger workforce, and a better marketplace for us all. I welcome their decision to stay. I also want to recognize Jim Wadleigh, the CEO of Access Health CT, Commissioner Wade, and ConnectiCare for their commitment to resolving this situation to the benefit of residents."

At it's peak, there were four insurance carriers participating in the Access Health CT exchange.

It has been three years since Connecticut started offering affordable healthcare, and to date 100,000 people are covered. But insurance companies have been dropping out. United Health earlier this year.

"We have passed the information along to the insurance department - their role is the regulator for health care in the state of Connecticut, and we are working with their policy and legal team to understand what the implications are."

Access Health CT runs the state's health insurance exchange, and it's CEO said on Tuesday they were still trying to work out an agreement.

ConnectiCare recently was given more than a 17 percent increase by the insurance department. They want 27 percent.

In a letter last week, ConnectiCare sent out an alert saying "it's proposed rates for the qualified health plans that it desires to offer on the exchange during 2017 were rejected,” and the decision was to terminate the agreement.

Access Health CT said many of the people who are now covered rarely saw doctors and are more expensive to insure.

"The customers that have not had health insurance, either never or for a long period of time, are being found to be sicker than expected,” Wadleigh said.

After the decision was reversed on Tuesday, Wadleigh said in a statement "We are very happy to hear that ConnectiCare will remain part of the exchange for 2017 providing plans and options that allow individuals and families get access to quality care; this is great news. The more choices we have to offer our customers, the better off they will be."

If ConnectiCare did drop out, Anthem would be the only one left on the exchange.

"I hope that everyone will step back -- everyone will take a deep breath and understand that asking folks to pay that much more money is substantial,” said Gov. Malloy.

ConnectiCare has already sent an appeal on their request for a rate hike. 

In a statement on Tuesday, ConnectiCare said "ConnectiCare is committed to providing access to high-quality healthcare for our 50,000 members on the exchange. 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.  We raised our concerns regarding the adequacy of the rates that were approved by the Connecticut Insurance Department on September 2, 2016. We pursued all available options for the Department to consider additional information that we believe is relevant to setting an adequate rate. 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.  To that end, we have withdrawn our legal appeals with the courts and the Department, and we have sent a letter to the Exchange rescinding the termination notice that we sent to them on Friday. We are committed to the mission of providing high-quality healthcare to Connecticut residents.  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."

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