This is a picture of Access Health's New Britain store
Access Health's New Britain store Arielle Levin Becker / CTMirror file photo
This is a picture of Access Health's New Britain store
Access Health’s New Britain store Arielle Levin Becker / CTMirror file photo
Access Health’s New Britain store Arielle Levin Becker / CTMirror file photo

New polling from Gallup shows that the percentage of uninsured Americans inched up last year, but there’s no evidence yet that Connecticut is following that national trend.

There was a dip in the latest enrollment in Access Heath CT, Connecticut’s Affordable Care Act health insurance marketplace. But there was also an increase in the overall number of Connecticut residents who signed up for Medicaid, known as HUSKY in the state.

Total enrollment through Access Health CT for a 2019 policy was 111,066 households, about 3,000 fewer than the 2018 enrollment.

Andrea Ravitz, marketing director for Access Health CT said it is too early to tell whether the uninsured rate in Connecticut – or the rest of the nation – is rising.

“I believe that nationwide it went up, but it’s too soon to tell,” Ravitz said.

Access Health’s enrollment period for a 2019 health insurance policy ended on Jan. 15, but several other states, including New York, that have their own exchanges have not ended their enrollment periods.

However, preliminary figures from the 39 states that use the federal exchange to enroll their residents in health insurance show participation has dropped.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said about 8.5 million people enrolled in ACA coverage, compared to 8.8 million a year ago through the federal exchange.

Meanwhile, Gallup estimated the uninsured rate for adults in the United States increased by 1.3 percentage points – or about 3 million Americans – last year and 2.8 percent since the third quarter of 2016.

Those living in the South had the sharpest rise in the number of uninsured, while those living along the Eastern seaboard were the least affected.

Women, those living in households with annual incomes of less than $48,000 per year, and young adults under the age of 35 reported the greatest increases, Gallup found.

That means the adult uninsured rate is at the highest level since the first quarter of 2014, when the ACA’s major coverage expansion went into effect.

Still, Ravitz said she is pleased with the Access Health CT enrollment numbers.

“The moral of the story is that we’re happy with enrollment,” she said.

A little more than half of those who were eligible for auto enrollment in the marketplace were projected to have a premium increase of $100 or more.  But the premium increases imposed by Anthem and ConnectiCare, the two insurers who sell policies on the ACA marketplace, were much smaller than those of some previous years.

And about  71 percent of those who purchased a policy through Access Health CT were eligible for federal subsidies that helped bring down the cost of coverage.

Analysts say efforts to degrade – and even repeal — the ACA by the Trump administration and congressional Republicans hurt health insurance enrollment this year.

For example, in a massive tax code overhaul, Congress eliminated the “individual mandate,” which are the tax penalties levied on those who did not purchase insurance.

The repeal of the individual mandate, and the decision by a Texas federal court that, without the mandate, the entire ACA is unconstitutional, “created a lot of confusion,” Ravitz said.

The Texas federal court decision has been appealed to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and whatever those judges decide will likely be appealed to the Supreme Court, embroiling the ACA in court battles for years.

Meanwhile, the Connecticut Department of Social Services says enrollment in Medicaid, or HUSKY, rose last year and is now at 842,548 individuals, including 265,565 in the ACA’s Medicaid expansion portion.

In December 2017, DSS said it served a total of 821,457 individuals enrolled in Medicaid, including 244,215 in the Medicaid expansion.

“Definitely, our enrollment has gradually and steadily increased since we began Medicaid expansion in mid-2010,” said DSS spokesman David Dearborn.

Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

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  1. When looking at the headlines of this article, you would think the people outside of CT can’t afford the insurance. That’s right, “CAN’T AFFORD THE INSURANCE” of the Affordable Care Act. I know the democrats and the Mirror publishing police get upset when you call this bill Obamacare, so I will here on out, I call it what the democrats named it. Think about this! Is the word “Affordable” make you think this insurance is low cost and can be affordable to the average person! Nothing can be farther from the truth. If the media would actually pick this bill apart they would report this bill was written by the lobbyist for the insurance industry and puts the taxpayer at a disadvantage. The only advantage the media will point out is the kids in college will still be insured up to age 26 and the previous preexisting conditions would be covered. This portion of the bill only cost the taxpayers a mere 10.6 billion dollars. So where is the remaining 105 billion going to? Look at the profits the insurance companies has made in the last 6 years! Then look at the salaries of the insurance companies executives! Then look at what the CT legislature has allowed the insurance companies to raise the premiums over the last 7 years. Then look at the campaign contributions of our CT legislators. Over 100 percent increase over this time period. What has the blame scream media said, “Chirp, chirp and chirp.” Even worse the media, including this on,e has praised the CT legislators for their outstanding care for the poor, when in reality they are lining their own pockets. I realize this will be not allowed but somebody has to speak out against this coverage that is raping the taxpayers.

    1. Please note, we have a 1,000 character cap on comments. If you’d like to make a longer comment I invite you to submit an op ed to our Viewpoints page:

      Also, we are not interested in gratuitous derogatory comments about newsmakers, other commenters, institutions, or the media, including CT Mirror. Stop with the “publishing police” and “blame scream media.” If you have an observation to share, share it, but stop the name calling. We will no longer publish comments that don’t comply with this request.

    2. Your anger and frustration with this extortion by the insurance companies in collaboration with state and federal elected representatives is mine also. Where is the press? Where are investigative journalists? The real shame is Ms Ravitz saying she is happy with the enrollment numbers. A government official happy that 11,000 households in this state have to he subsidized with public funds to pay the insurance extortion fueled with extortion rate increases authorized by the state insurance commissioner. This makes her happy? It makes me disgusted. And no elected Democrat will change the course of this government controlled suppression of our freedom.

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