Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie

HARTFORD, CT — In a year in which there were more challenges to overcome Connecticut’s health insurance exchange, Access Health CT, enrolled 2.3 percent more residents than it did the previous year.

Access Health CT enrolled 114,134 individuals in private health insurance plans and exceeded their “internal expectations,” CEO James Wadleigh said Monday. “In a very challenging year, we had a very successful year.”

It’s nearly 3,000 more Connecticut residents than were enrolled during the last open enrollment period.

He said about 83,000 of the 114,000 enrolled with ConnectiCare and 31,000 enrolled with Anthem. More than 80,000 of the 114,000 had purchased insurance through the exchange in the past and 13,400 were new customers.

Six of the eight counties saw an increase in enrollment. Hartford and Windham Counties saw slight declines.

Close to 74 percent of the enrollees will receive a tax subsidy to help them pay their monthly premiums. Those tax subsidies got more generous after the cost-sharing reduction payments were eliminated. Conversely, the elimination of the cost-sharing reduction payments by the Trump administration made premiums more expensive for those above 400 percent of the federal poverty level who don’t receive any tax subsidy.

And while most Connecticut customers stayed within the same tier, those who did change tiers tended to buy down from silver to bronze plans. The silver plans were the only ones impacted by the loss of the cost-sharing reductions.

Connecticut’s Insurance Department allowed the two insurance carriers to account for the loss of that revenue as part of their double-digit rate increases for 2018.

During a state Capitol press conference, Wadleigh encouraged residents who signed up for coverage to finish the job by making their first monthly payment.

He said historically they lose 15 percent of their customers because they fail to make the payment in the first month.

Before Christmas, while celebrating passage of tax reform, Republican President Donald Trump said, “We — I hate to say this, but we essentially repealed Obamacare, because we got rid of the individual mandate, which was terrible.”

Trump added, “And that was a primary source of funding of Obamacare.”

The individual mandate was a fine on those who choose not to purchase insurance.

Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman said she’s in favor of creating a state-based individual mandate and it’s something a bipartisan group of lawmakers is considering.

Massachusetts still has an individual mandate.

“The elimination of the individual mandate. The disruption to insurers in the marketplace. These all threaten access to affordable health care for millions of people across this country,” Wyman said.

More than 8.74 million people signed up for coverage in 2018 through the federal exchange at, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. That exchange serves 39 states.

The number is just shy of the 9.2 million people who signed up for coverage in 2017.

Enrollment in California and New York is open until Jan. 31.

114,134 enrolled in Access Health

Posted by on Monday, January 8, 2018