Fourteen insurance companies asked the Insurance Department Monday to increase their health insurance rates for 2017 by as much as 32 percent. Collectively, the plans cover 332,126 people in Connecticut.

The largest insurance company in the state, Anthem Health Plans, has asked for an average 26.8 percent increase for individual health insurance plans marketed both on and off the state’s health insurance exchange. Anthem covers 56,700 people under their plans in Connecticut.

In its filing with the state, Anthem says medical costs have climbed 9.6 percent, but they also have to take into account the fact that the federal government’s transitional reinsurance program is expiring. Since the inception of the Affordable Care Act, the federal government has provided funds to insurers to offset the costs of “expected high-cost claims for the newly insured.”

The federal government program was established to stabilize premiums in the first three years of the Affordable Care Act.

ConnectiCare Benefits, which is one of three companies currently offering plans on Connecticut’s insurance exchange, is requesting an average 14.3 percent increase for plans offered on the exchange. ConnectiCare covers 47,597 people under their individual exchange plans.

According to its filing with the Insurance Department, ConnectiCare anticipates a 10.5 percent increase in medical costs. It also cites the expiration of the federal government’s transitional reinsurance program as the main reason for their request to increase rates.

HealthyCT, the only nonprofit insurance company offering plans on the exchange, is requesting an average 12.2 percent increase for plans marketed both in and out of the exchange. The plans currently cover 16,274 residents. HealthyCT anticipates a 4.7 percent increase in medical costs, according to its filing with the Insurance Department.

Aetna, CIGNA, Golden Rule Insurance Company, and ConnectiCare all offer plans off the exchange. Details on the rate increases requested off the exchange, and number of customers covered, are as follows:

• Golden Rule is requesting an average 32 percent increase for its 1,256 customers;
• Aetna is requesting an average 27.9 percent increase for its 6,346 customers;
• CIGNA is requesting a 6.6 percent increase for the 568 customers, and;
• ConnectiCare is requesting an average 24.3 percent rate increase for its 37,142 customers outside the exchange.

Aetna, ConnectiCare, Harvard Pilgrim, HPHC Insurance Company; Oxford, and UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company also requested average rate increases between 2.1 percent and 28.20 percent for its small business customers.

ConnectiCare has the largest share of those small business customers, covering 47,883 employees, and is requesting an average 14.7 percent increase. Aetna, which has the second largest share of small business customers with 36,067 employees covered, is requesting an average 28.2 percent increase.

National Federation of Independent Business Connecticut state director, Andrew Markowski said he’s not surprised at the increases.

“Just like so many other aspects of Obamacare, stabilizing premium rates has failed to come to fruition and our members will be the ones left having to compensate for the increased cost of healthcare for their employees,” Markowski said.

The requests made by the insurance companies are initial requests and will be reviewed by the Insurance Department’s actuaries before being finalized.

Insurance Commissioner Katharine Wade has also requested public hearings on three of the individual health insurance plans.

A public hearing on Anthem’s rate request will be held Aug. 3. Public hearings for ConnectiCare and Aetna will be held Aug. 4. The hearings will be held at 153 Market St., Hartford, at the offices of the Insurance Department.

Markowski said they will encourage their members to attend the public hearings

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