This is a picture of the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield logo at the company's Wallingford headquarters
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield's Wallingford office Arielle Levin Becker / CT Mirror
ConnectiCare has requested a rate hike for its individual plans on the exchange. Arielle Levin Becker /

Insurance companies that sell plans on Connecticut’s exchange, Access Health CT, are seeking premium increases for 2021, pointing to rising medical costs and a higher demand for services.

Anthem Health Plans has asked for a 9.9% average increase in its individual policies, which serve about 22,000 people on and off the exchange.

“The company’s price calculation does account for a 7.7% impact of medical cost inflation and increased demand for those medical services, a factor known as ‘trend,’” Anthem officials wrote in their request. A spokesperson for the company was not immediately available for comment Friday.

Anthem is seeking a 9.5% average increase for its small group policies, which serve 22,500 workers and their dependents on and off the exchange. Employers with 50 or fewer staff members qualify for the plans.

ConnectiCare Benefits Inc., which covers about 75,100 people, has asked for an average increase of 5.5% in its individual policies on the exchange. The company said in its request that rising medical expenses and demand are expected to have an impact on the insurer’s claims costs. COVID-19-related services account for 1.6% of the proposed premium increase.

Premiums for small group plans marketed by ConnectiCare on the exchange would drop by .2%, the company said. About 250 people are on those policies.

“We remain extremely mindful of the impact that rate increases have on our members and have taken every possible step to keep our plans as fairly priced as possible within the reality of today’s health care environment,” said Kimberly Kann, a spokeswoman for the company. “Our proposed rates are based on several factors, including medical and pharmacy cost trends, along with the uncertainty and impacts of COVID-19 on our members’ expected utilization of services.”

The state Department of Insurance is reviewing the proposals.

“The department will examine these filings with a fine-tooth comb to make sure these requested rates are consistent with state law,” Insurance Commissioner Andrew Mais said in a statement.“We will do everything we can to protect Connecticut health care consumers during the difficult COVID crisis.”

The insurance department sometimes accepts the changes as requested, but has also approved lower rate hikes. Last year, Anthem sought a 15.2% average increase for its individual plans, but the insurance department approved a 6.5% hike.

The proposed increases, if accepted by the department, would go into effect on Jan. 1.

Anyone who wishes to comment on the requests by the insurance companies can do so during a public hearing on Sept. 2 at 9 a.m. The hearing, typically held in Hartford, is expected to be virtual this year.

Jenna is CT Mirror’s Health Reporter, focusing on health access, affordability, quality, equity and disparities, social determinants of health, health system planning, infrastructure, processes, information systems, and other health policy. Before joining CT Mirror Jenna was a reporter at The Hartford Courant for 10 years, where she consistently won statewide and regional awards. Jenna has a Master of Science degree in Interactive Media from Quinnipiac University and a Bachelor or Arts degree in Journalism from Grand Valley State University.

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