Courtesy of Access Health CT

HARTFORD, CT – Connecticut’s insurance exchange, Access Health CT,  will extend its enrollment deadline until Jan. 15.

The original deadline to obtain health insurance starting on Jan. 1, 2020, was midnight Sunday, Dec. 15.

However, the state-based exchange, which offers plans from ConnectiCare and Anthem, will extend its deadline to give consumers more time to choose a plan or change their plan.

“We know there are customers who are automatically enrolled in a health insurance plan every year who do not notice changes in their out-of-pocket costs or premiums until they use their plan or get their bills,” Access Health CEO James Michel said. “There is a lot to think about when selecting a health insurance plan and we want to make sure our customers are able to pick the best plan for themselves and their families. We hope this extra time gives them the ability to make sure they picked a plan that fits their needs and gives them the best value in 2020.”

However, consumers who choose a new plan during this extension won’t be able to receive coverage until Feb. 1. Those who make a change to a previously picked plan will have to pay the January premium for that plan if they want coverage for the month of January.

It’s not unusual for the state to extend the 45 day enrollment period. In past years Access Health has chosen to extend the deadline for various reasons.

As of Friday, Dec. 13, 102,589 Connecticut residents had enrolled or been re-enrolled into plans through the exchange. That’s similar to where it was last year when Access Health extended the enrollment deadline.

Last year, enrollment was 102,412 when the enrollment period was extended until Jan. 15. After the Jan. 15 deadline that year, there were more than 111,000 people who signed up for coverage with one of the two private insurance carriers in 2019.

When all is said and done, Access Health officials said enrollment will be about the same as it was last year with about 111,000 to 115,000 customers.

However, if enrollment dips slightly it would be tracking with national trends.

As of Dec. 7, more than 3.9 million people in 38 states that use had signed up for plans, a 6% drop compared to a similar time period last year.

In Connecticut, a consumer-impact study commissioned by Access Health found that up to half of all exchange consumers – namely, those who receive federal subsidies for their insurance coverage – will see premiums decrease for 2020. But those who don’t receive subsidies are on track to have their monthly premiums rise an average of $116 per month, that same report found.

This year Access Health officials are focusing on uninsured populations.

Connecticut’s uninsured rate was 5.3%, or around 186,000 individuals in 2018. That’s up from an eight-year low of 4.9% in 2016, according to an Access Health CT report on the uninsured population.