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HARTFORD, CT — Anthem Health Plans and ConnectiCare will again submit health insurance rates for review next week to the Connecticut Insurance Department.

It will be the seventh year both companies are participating in Connecticut’s insurance exchange established through the Affordable Care Act. Both companies are expected to submit rates for plans on and off the exchange as they’ve done in past years for both the individual and small group markets.

James Michel, CEO of Access Health CT, said last month that he’s been in constant communication with the carriers and expects both will participate. At the same time he said he doesn’t expect any new insurance companies to get into the market.

Both Anthem Health Plans and ConnectiCare confirmed Monday that they will submit rates and participate in the marketplace.

During the first year of the exchange four insurance companies competed for about 100,000 customers, but for the past five years Anthem Health Plans and ConnectiCare have been the only companies offering plans.

The rates for 2020 are due to the Insurance Department by Monday, July 8, but they won’t be available to the public for review until later next week.

As in past years, complete filings including all correspondence and documentation will be posted on the Insurance Department’s website and available for review and comment by the public. All public comments will be reviewed by regulators, who are also expected to hold a public hearing on the rates.

The public hearing will likely be held in September.

The public is likely to be disappointed again that what they can afford as consumers is not part of the considerations in the rate-setting process in Connecticut.

The Insurance Department’s job is to make sure that the premiums cover the claims and that there is no discrimination against any specific group of clients. According to state statute, the rates have to be adequate and they can’t be excessive or unfairly discriminatory, but beyond that there’s little regulators can do to rein in costs for consumers.

The General Assembly failed to pass legislation that would require affordability to be part of the rate review process after double-digit rate hikes in 2018.

In 2019, Anthem Health Plans had proposed a 9.1% rate increase for their 2019 plans. The department opted instead for a 2.7% premium reduction. ConnectiCare’s average rate increase was dropped from 13% to 4%. However,  the range of rate increases for Anthem was between 7.2% and 31%, and the range of rate changes approved for ConnectiCare was a rate reduction of 18% up to a rate increase of 8.5%.