Sept. 13--State leaders announced late Monday afternoon that ConnectiCare will not sell Obamacare policies on the state's insurance exchange next year.
Despite the state's announcement, ConnectiCare -- which covers nearly 50,000 people in the state -- said the company would still like to sell policies if it wins an appeal on what rate it can charge.
"They are terminating their agreement and exiting the state's health care exchange," Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and Jim Wadleigh, CEO of Access Health CT, said in a joint statement released Monday afternoon.
ConnectictiCare's departure comes as two smaller insurers on the exchange -- UnitedHealthcare and HealthyCT -- have also departed. Without ConnectiCare, only Anthem would remain selling policies under the exchanges.
Under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, consumers purchase federally subsidized health insurance policies through exchanges.
"Access Health CT's number one priority has always been and continues to be our customers. We are a national leader in health care because we are 100 percent committed to ensuring that Connecticut residents have access to affordable, high quality health care," Wyman and Wadleigh said. "ConnectiCare's decision is certainly a challenge, but AHCT will continue to adapt to the changing health care market with an eye on ensuring our consumers the best options."
ConnectiCare, which covers about 47,600 people through individual and family plans sold on the Obamacare exchange, got the rate it asked for on Aug. 1 -- an increase of 17.4 percent. But three weeks later, company officials said that request had been too low, and it said it needed an average 27.1 percent increase to cover the claims and make a profit on the plans.
ConnectiCare had hoped to force the Insurance Department to reopen its rate request before having to decide on whether to or not to sell individual plans with Obamacare subsidies next year, but a Superior Court judge declined to intervene.
ConnectiCare General Counsel Sam Caligiuri, in a letter to Access Health CT on Friday, said it would exit, but then added "we are going to continue to work to explore all avenues to receive an actuarially sound rate that will allow us to continue to offer the health benefits on which 50,000 Connecticut exchange participants rely."
Letters must go out in about three weeks to customers about what plans will charge in 2017. The Insurance Department did not consider ConnectiCare's updated request for a 27.1 percent jump in premiums, saying it just came too late.
The Insurance Department put out a statement Monday afternoon that said it was still trying to sort out how to handle ConnectictiCare's request for reconsidering its rate increase request.
"While the judge dismissed the carrier's request for a temporary injunction she did not dismiss the underlying case," the department said. "Therefore the Department is in consultation with the Attorney General's office to determine the interrelationship between this new administrative appeal and the Superior Court litigation before moving forward."
Meanwhile, Anthem will sell policies to Obamacare customers in 2017, and if the ConnectiCare withdrawal is final, it will be the only company selling policies.
This past year, about 108,000 people were covered by private Obamacare policies, with plans from Anthem, ConnectiCare, HealthyCT and United Healthcare. United Healthcare, which had just 1,000 customers, said in April it would not sell policies in 2017. The Connecticut Insurance Department shut down HealthyCT, a nonprofit insurer, which had more than 10,000 customers, because it did not have the financial resources to continue to issue policies next year.
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