Only 6 percent of Connecticut residents were uninsured in 2015, giving the state one of the lowest uninsured rates in the country, according to newly released U.S. Census Bureau data.
That means the number of uninsured in Connecticut has dropped 3.4 percent from 9.4 percent in 2013. It also means 110,000 more Connecticut residents had health insurance in 2015.
In Connecticut, there are 99,909 individuals enrolled in plans on the exchange, also known as Access Health CT. There are another 756,551 individuals covered by Medicaid.
Not only are more people covered, but the cost of coverage hasn’t increased as rapidly as it would have without the Affordable Care Act, according to officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Aviva Aron-Dine, a senior counselor at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said the Kaiser Family Foundation released its annual report Wednesday, which found the average family premium for 150 million Americans with employer-sponsored plans increased 3.4 percent in 2016.
“That’s one of the lowest premium growth rates Kaiser has ever reported,” Aron-Dine said.
Since 2010, the average family premium has increased an average of 4.7 percent per year, compared to 7.9 percent in the prior decade, according to the report.
In Connecticut, according to the White House Council of Economic Advisers, the average family premium was $3,000 lower in 2015 than if premiums had grown at the same rate as the pre-ACA decade.
But that’s only in the employer-sponsored market.
While the Affordable Care Act was created, in part, to help drive down healthcare costs, consumers are bracing for double-digit rate increases in 2017.
In Connecticut, Insurance Department regulators approved a 22.4 percent average increase for Anthem customers both on and off the exchange and a 38 percent average increase for ConnectiCare customers off the exchange. ConnectiCare customers on the exchange will see their rates increase an average of 17.4 percent.
Aron-Dine said those rates for the individual market may sound high, but a previous report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services discovered that in a hypothetical scenario where all rates increased by 25 percent, the vast majority or 70 percent of consumers would still be able to purchase a plan for $75 per month.
There are 11 million Americans participating in the ACA marketplaces, while 150 million Americans still have employer-sponsored coverage.
Aron-Dine said this is only the fourth year of the individual market and insurance carriers are still trying to work out calculating the correct rates for what has been an unknown population.
The ACA requires insurance carriers to insurance everyone, regardless of pre-existing medical conditions.
She said this is a “transition year” for carriers participating in the marketplace.
“Some issuers are making up for initial underpricing,” Aron-Dine said.
She said carriers were forced to make predictions without data about an unknown population that they would be insuring. She said now there’s enough data for carriers to properly estimate their rates.
“The market is going through a natural correction to bring prices in line with costs,” Aron-Dine said.
Also the ACA’s temporary reinsurance program expires this year, so carriers will not be getting help from the federal government to offset its costs.
“This is the fourth year of a new market and issuers are still figuring out how they that want to operate to serve a market that is very different from the pre-ACA individual market,” Aron-Dine said.
A memo analyzing the marketplace states that the Congressional Budget Office has consistently predicted that marketplace rates would grow faster than employer premiums for the first few years, but then grow at the same pace.