HARTFORD, CT — Connecticut’s health insurance rates for 2019 won’t be submitted until July, but they are likely to increase based on the most recent data from Washington.
New figures from the Congressional Budget Office show that premiums are increasing.
The premium for an average “benchmark” silver plan was 34 percent higher this year than it was in 2017.
The budget office expects premiums will go up another 15 percent for 2019 before they level out at about seven percent per year after that. It also expects 34 million Americans to be uninsured over the next 10 years. That’s an increase from its previous prediction of 30 million.
“Part of that increase is projected to occur because plans are expected to have a less healthy mix of enrollees after the penalty related to the individual mandate is no longer levied beginning on January 1, 2019,” the CBO writes in its report.
The elimination of the cost sharing reductions and the rising cost of health care are also expected to contribute to the overall increase.
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, a member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, took to the Senate floor Wednesday to decry the changes President Donald Trump has made to the Affordable Care Act since taking office.
“We were successful in defeating the full repeal of the Affordable Care Act. And that’s great news because the Affordable Care Act is more popular than ever before,” Murphy said. “But this Congress and this president are trying to ruin some of the most important protections in our health care system because they’re mad that they lost the repeal vote by one vote.”
He said the Republicans in Congress “finally succeeded in repealing the individual mandate, which the Congressional Budget Office says will by itself increase premiums by 10 percent and wipe out insurance for 13 million people. And the administration is now trying to expand the sale of what we call ‘junk plans,’ which are insurance plans that don’t have to cover a minimum set of benefits, that don’t have to protect people with preexisting conditions or existing sicknesses from higher premium rates.”
In 2018, Connecticut residents who purchase their insurance through Access Health CT, saw double-digit rate increases.
Insurance regulators allowed companies to boost their premiums on the individual market in 2018 by an average of 31.7 percent for Anthem and 27.7 percent for ConnectiCare Benefit customers.
There’s little the federal government can do at the moment to change what’s likely to be another year of double-digit increases.
Murphy pointed out that those increases are already being announced in other states.
He said one insurance plan in Virginia asked for a 64 percent increase in premiums. In Maryland the head of the insurance plan asked for a 91 percent increase.
“No one can afford a 91 percent increase in premiums. No one can afford a 64 percent increase in premiums,” Murphy said. “But, frankly, no one can—very few people can afford a 15 percent or 20 percent increase in premiums.”
Last summer when Murphy went for a walk across Connecticut he said people were waiting for him to tell him their concerns about health insurance.
“They waited ahead of me for hours and hours to talk to me about their illness and about their fear that this congress and this president were going to take away their coverage,” Murphy said. “We were successful in defeating the full repeal of the Affordable Care Act. And that’s great news because the Affordable Care Act is more popular than ever before. But this Congress and this president are trying to ruin some of the most important protections in our health care system because they’re mad that they lost the repeal vote by one vote.”
Connecticut’s General Assembly passed a bill this year that says it would require companies offering plans in Connecticut to cover the 10 essential health benefits required under the Affordable Care Act, if Congress repeals the ACA.