After vowing to leave Connecticut's health insurance exchange, ConnectiCare said last week it will offer plans in the market in 2017 despite losing out on its rate hike request. The reversal came days after President Barack Obama met with insurers remaining in the Affordable Care Act marketplaces.
ConnectiCare said it discussed its planned departure with state regulators and its beneficiaries and ultimately decided to stay in the ACA market. The company had earlier said it would leave in the wake of a state court's Sept. 9 rejection of the insurer's attempt to force through a proposed 27% average premium hike.
The insurer will raise rates about 17.4%, which matches ConnectiCare's initial proposal in August. The health plan later amended that request to boost its premiums, noting that patients were using more medical services and prescription drugs than expected.
About half of Connecticut's 100,000 exchange customers have policies with ConnectiCare. Anthem, the other insurer on the exchange, has a slightly larger share and will increase premiums by 22.4% on average, less than the 26.8% requested. The state's co-op program, HealthyCT, closed in July after receiving a hefty risk-adjustment liability. UnitedHealthcare announced in April it would leave the exchange in 2017.
ConnectiCare is a subsidiary of EmblemHealth, the New York City-based insurer led by Karen Ignagni, former top lobbyist at America's Health Insurance Plans.
Last week, Obama spoke with officials from Humana, Highmark and the North Carolina Blues, among others. Several insurers have mulled leaving the program amid concerns over the sicker, more expensive population enrolling in the exchanges.