The more than 99,000 residents enrolled through Connecticut’s insurance exchange have a better track record of paying their first month premium than consumers in 39 other states served by Healthcare.Gov.
In Connecticut, 9.6 out of 10 customers who purchased their insurance through Access Health CT paid their first monthly premium this year.
Two reports released Monday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services show that of the 12.2 million people who signed up for coverage through Healthcare.Gov, only 10.3 million followed through by paying their premiums to maintain coverage as of March 15. That means about 1.9 million consumers failed to pay their premiums and don’t have insurance.
While more Connecticut residents may be making the payments, many of those leaving Connecticut’s exchange have cited the high cost of coverage.
According to a survey commissioned by Access Health CT, of those consumers who decided to leave 44 percent were not covered by any type of health insurance. Rather, many became uninsured because of the high cost of coverage, according to the Market Decisions Research survey of plan participants.
There was another 50 percent of those surveyed who were able to find coverage through an employer sponsored plan. The 22-minute phone survey of 1,008 customers was conducted in the fall of 2016 and the results were shared with the Access Health CT Board of Directors at its April meeting.
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Health Insurance Exchanges Trends Report, of the 39 states participating in Healthcare.Gov nearly 60 percent of the consumers who terminated coverage after paying premiums for at least one month indicated they obtained employer sponsored coverage.
Approximately 46 percent of consumers who canceled their coverage prior to paying their first month’s premium cited cost as the reason for cancellation. An estimated 20 percent who canceled coverage cited premium increases and 17 percent cited ineligibility for financial assistance, according to the report.
“Consumers are sending a clear message that cost and affordability are major factors in their decision to cancel or terminate coverage,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said Monday.
In March of 2016, 10.8 million people had effectuated coverage through the exchanges, and by the end of the year, only 9.1 million remained. The data on drops in effectuated enrollment shows that, on average since 2014, more than a million enrollees per year have dropped their coverage before the end of the plan year, according to the 2017 Effectuated Enrollment Snapshot released Monday by CMS.
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said the reports show a decline in the number of Americans who have actually purchased coverage on the exchanges, with cost being a primary concern.
Price, who was appointed by Republican President Donald Trump, has been seeking to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act since he was a member of Congress.
“Not surprisingly, as costs continue to go up, fewer Americans can afford to pay more and get less for healthcare,” Price said Monday in a statement on the reports.