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Regulators approve single-digit 2019 health premium rate hikes

BY Matt Pilon

9/13/2018
Photo | HBJ File
Photo | HBJ File
Insurance Commissioner Katharine Wade.
Small-group and individual health insurance premiums will rise next year on average by 3.1 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively, the Connecticut Insurance Department said Thursday.

The Insurance Department's approved rates are lower than the 10 percent to 12 percent average hikes originally requested by health insurers.

The agency said that the cost of and demand for medical services -- called "medical trend" -- continues to be the largest driver of premium growth. Also impacting rates were new state mandates, such as adding pregnancy as a "qualifying event" for enrolling in an individual health insurance policy outside of regular enrollment periods.

Though some insurers had warned that the federal government's efforts to expand the availability of short-term and association health plans could increase costs, CID found that the impact would be "marginal." The agency also said Congress' decision to stop enforcing financial penalties for not having health insurance would have "limited impact."

The rate hikes were approved for health plans sold off and on Connecticut's health insurance exchange, Access Health CT.

The largest approved increases for next year include:

  • 10 percent average rate hikes for Aetna Life Insurance Company's small-group, off-exchange policies (7,500 covered lives)
  • 8.8 percent rate hike for CTCare Insurance Co.'s (ConnectiCare) individual off-exchange policies (26,987 covered lives)
  • 6.3 percent rate hike for CTCare Insurance Co.'s (ConnectiCare) small-group, off-exchange policies (39,092 covered lives)