Christine Stuart photo
Access Health CT CEO Jim Wadleigh and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman (Christine Stuart photo)

During the third year of the Affordable Care Act, 116,019 Connecticut residents signed up for plans through the exchange with four private insurance carriers.

That’s an increase of 5,924 individuals over last year’s enrollment period.

An estimated 19,499 of the 116,019 enrollees were new to the exchange. And of the estimated 96,520 repeat customers only about 16 percent or 12,529 enrolled in a new plan this year. That’s a much lower number than the federal exchange.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, about 70 percent of its repeat customers actively shopped for a new plan and about 30 percent reenrolled in the same plan they had in 2015.

This is the third year of enrollment under the Affordable Care Act, which allows residents with preexisting medical conditions to receive coverage. The law also limits how much money families have to spend on health insurance.

There are also penalties for not having insurance. This year families who don’t get insurance will be subject to a federal penalty equal to 2.5 percent of their annual income or $695, whichever is more.

An estimated 90,619 of the 116,019 Connecticut enrollees are eligible to receive a federal subsidy, which lowers the monthly premium they have to pay based on their family income.There are 21,470 households that still need to send in their financial documents in order to continue to receive a subsidy. Another 25,404 individuals are getting their insurance through the exchange without a tax subsidy.

Access Health CT, Connecticut’s health insurance exchange, also helped enroll 258,000 residents in Medicaid between Nov, 1, 2015 and Jan. 31, 2016. About 41,000 of those were new enrollments. Medicaid enrollment is year round an estimated 750,000 Connecticut residents are enrolled in the program, which was expanded in 2010.

“This is the most successful open enrollment that we’ve had,” Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman said Monday.

Wyman is the chair of the Access Health CT board of directors.

Jim Wadleigh, CEO of Access Health CT, said the numbers represent “61,000 citizens who were not previously insured and who now have access to affordable healthcare.”

He credited the jump in enrollment to the outreach and marketing efforts of the exchange.

Like last year though, Wadleigh acknowledged that the number of those enrolled is expected to shrink. Some customers will fail to pay their premiums and others will fail to submit their financial information and put themselves at risk for losing the tax subsidy and possibly their insurance.

Wadleigh said the new challenge will be to make sure those who have insurance know how to use it. He estimated about 30 percent of those who purchased insurance through the exchange have not used it.

“We’re going to do a lot more this year to help our customers understand their insurance,” Wadleigh said.

The increased enrollment in Connecticut follows a national trend. This year an estimated 9.6 million individuals signed up for coverage on the federal exchange through and 3.1 million selected plans through the 13 state-based exchanges.