CTNJ file photo
Access Health CT storefront in New Britain (CTNJ file photo)

As of Dec. 15, Connecticut’s health insurance exchange had signed up about 11,000 new customers.

They will join an estimated 63,000 current customers who were automatically renewed in their 2015 plans with the four private insurance carriers on the exchange. Another 35,000 or so customers chose a new plan or had a change in their family size or income bringing the total number of those enrolled to about 109,000. In order to receive coverage on Jan. 1, 2016, customers needed to sign up by Dec. 15.

Last year, about 86,000 customers had signed up for coverage or re-enrolled in coverage with the exchange.

Open enrollment runs through Jan. 31. Those who sign up by Jan. 15 will have coverage on Feb. 1 and those who sign up after that will have coverage beginning March 1.

Access Health CT wants to sign up or renew coverage for between 105,000 and 115,000 customers, but reaching that number isn’t easy.

Approximately 8,200 of its members have not given the exchange permission to auto-renew their coverage and will lose coverage starting Jan.1, 2016.

There are also an additional 1,100 customers who did not file their 2014 tax returns and will lose their tax credits in 2016.

Consumers receiving premium tax credits are required to a file a federal income tax return with the Internal Revenue Service to reconcile their advanced premium tax credits.

If you have questions about your household’s tax filing status, the exchange recommends using Interactive Tax Assistant (http://www.irs.gov/uac/Interactive-Tax-Assistant-(ITA)-1) or calling IRS Telephone Assistance for Individuals at 1-800-829-1040.

“Our team has been communicating with our customers about the auto renew issue for some time, and will continue to do so.  We’ve used direct mail, we’ve made phone calls, and we’ve talked to the media,” Access Health CT CEO James Wadleigh said in a statement. “And since we were first alerted by the IRS to the issue of people failing to file their taxes, we’ve been communicating about that as well.”

Wadleigh said customers can automatically renew their policies by logging into their account online or by calling the exchange at 1-855-805-4325.

“It’s easy to understand at this busy time of year that there are things on people’s minds other than filing paperwork or filling out forms online. But the bottom line is that there are thousands of people who are about to either lose their federal tax credit, or lose their insurance completely, if they don’t act — and we’ve very concerned,” Wadleigh said.