Connecticut insurance carriers again requested an average double-digit rate increase for health insurance plans starting in January 2024, however, the average request wasn’t as “jaw dropping”  as in 2023. 

The 2024 rate proposals for the individual market are on average lower than last year while the small group market are on average the same as last year. 

The proposed average for individual rate requests is around 12.4% while the average for small groups is around 14.8%. 

There are still just three carriers participating in the individual marketplace, Anthem, ConnectiCare Benefits Inc. (CBI) and ConnectiCare Insurance Company, Inc. ConnectiCare Benefits Inc. is no longer participating in the small group market. 

ConnectiCare Insurance Company, which serves 12,000 individuals, filed a request to raise rates an average of 17.5% for health plans marketed through Access Health CT. And ConnectiCare Benefits Inc., which serves more than 64,000 people, requested an average of 12.7% increase for health plans marketed through Access Health CT. 

Anthem Health Plans requested an average 9.8% increase for individual health plans marketed on and off the state’s health insurance exchange.

ConnectiCare Benefits said in its rating filing that it needs to increase the cost of insurance to comply with two law passed last year that require breast and ovarian cancer screenings and another that requires the carriers to provide coverage for two mental health wellness examinations per year for children. 

All three carriers say the pent-up demand of health services following the pandemic have subsided. However, they say the reduction in Medicaid benefits following the pandemic will add to the morbidity of new patients coming onto the rolls for private health insurance carriers. 

Attorney General William Tong said the proposed hikes are still unacceptable.

“These rates will be simply unaffordable for too many Connecticut families, individuals and businesses,” Tong said. “We are thoroughly scrutinizing these filings and expect to play an active role in this process.”

The 30-day public comment period for all filings started on June 9. A public hearing will be held at some point in August.

“The review process will delve deeply into each submission, requiring insurers to provide justifications and supporting evidence,” insurance department officials said in a statement. “As always, our rate reviews will be comprehensive, continuing our ongoing efforts to promote transparency and accountability. By utilizing various tools, such as benchmarking and other industry best practices, we strive to maintain a fair and competitive insurance market while prioritizing the interests of consumers.”

The Department of Insurance is expected to review the rate requests to make sure they are adequate to support continuation of the carriers. Affordability for consumers is not something the department takes into consideration when setting the rates, which will be finalized in September and start on Nov. 1, 2023.