Premiums for the 55,000 people who buy Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plans through the state’s individual market will rise by an average of 2.4 percent next year, while ConnectiCare Insurance Company’s 34,400 customers will see an average rate hike of 8.5 percent.

Both companies sought higher increases, but the Connecticut Insurance Department deemed their proposed rates excessive and required the companies to revise their proposals.

Similarly, Golden Rule, which covers 3,414 people, sought an 18.5 percent rate hike but, after revising it based on the regulator’s findings, will instead raise rates by 1.1 percent.

The requests by Anthem, ConnectiCare and Golden Rule were subject to a July public hearing.

Other rate changes for 2016 individual-market plans – which cover about 167,000 people in the state – were finalized last month. Most companies will be allowed to raise rates, but by less than they originally requested.

One company, ConnectiCare Benefits – which sells plans through the state’s health insurance exchange, Access Health CT – must lower its rates an average of 1.3 percent, while insurer HealthyCT was directed to raise its rates by more than the company sought after the insurance department determined its proposed rates were inadequate.

ConnectiCare sells plans through three separately licensed companies, each of which has a separate risk pool and rate request.

The weighted average rate change among individual market plans – based on the market share of each company – is an overall 3.5 percent increase.

The extent to which an individual customer’s premium changes next year will be based on the person’s specific plan and whether he or she receives federal subsidies to discount the cost of coverage. For those who get subsidies, the approved rate changes won’t translate directly into premium changes.

2016 rate changes for individual-market plans
The proposed and approved rate changes are for health plans that will be sold through Connecticut’s individual market in 2016. Some plans are sold on the state’s health insurance exchange, Access Health CT, while others are sold outside the exchange. The size of the rate change for each plan a company sells varies; the figures below show both the average rate change by company and the range of changes among plans. Some companies, including ConnectiCare, sell plans through more than one license, so they file rate requests for each one.
Company Proposed Approved Range People covered On/off exchange
Aetna 5.60% 1.40% 0% to 3.8% 7,291 Off
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield 4.70% 2.40% -2.7% to 6.94% 55,000 Both
Celtic 15.95% 15.95% 15.95% 0 Off
Cigna 14.27% 9.55% 3.4% to 24.7% 660 Off
ConnectiCare Benefits Inc. 0.70% -1.30% -7.0% to 3.3% 39,850 On
ConnectiCare Inc. 5.10% 5.10% 5.10% 435 Off
ConnectiCare Insurance Co. 9.80% 8.50% 4.4% to 12.9% 34,400 Off
Golden Rule 18.50% 1.10% -5.9% to 6.01% 3,414 Off
HealthyCT 3.43% 7.20% -10.5% to 14.3% 23,485 Both
UnitedHealthcare 32.90% 21.70% 3.2% to 30% 712 Off
UnitedHealthcare 11.40% 5.50% 0.5% to 14.5% 1,686 On
Connecticut Insurance Department

Arielle Levin Becker covered health care for The Connecticut Mirror. She previously worked for The Hartford Courant, most recently as its health reporter, and has also covered small towns, courts and education in Connecticut and New Jersey. She was a finalist in 2009 for the prestigious Livingston Award for Young Journalists, a recipient of a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship and the third-place winner in 2013 for an in-depth piece on caregivers from the National Association of Health Journalists. She is a 2004 graduate of Yale University.

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