Before we jump right into Connecticut health insurance and everything you need to know, let’s start with a little background information. In 2010, the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a “Obamacare” or ACA) was passed with the goal of getting all Americans access to affordable health insurance. To meet this goal, one measure Obamacare took was to create the ACA health insurance marketplaces, or health exchanges: one-stop shops where Americans can choose from a range of standardized, government-regulated health care plans. Health exchanges are also where eligible people can get subsidies, which lower the cost of their health plans.
States were given the option to run their own local exchange, take part in a multi-state exchange, or use the federal exchange. States that run their own exchanges get to customize many elements, including the time frame during which their residents can sign up for a plan. Several states decided to operate their own state exchanges and continue to do so to this day. Connecticut is one of those states.
Connecticut’s Health Insurance Landscape: Then and Now
The Connecticut health insurance exchange is called Access Health CT. Before the ACA, 7.9 percent of Connecticuters were uninsured. Since the introduction of Access Health CT, the percent of Connecticuters without health insurance has dropped to 3.8 (one of the lowest uninsured rates in the country!)! 111 thousand people have enrolled for health insurance through Access Health CT.
The Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange
Access Health CT is where eligible people throughout the state can find subsidized ACA plans. Open Enrollment for 2019 in Connecticut begins November 1 and ends December 15. Your coverage will start January 1. This sign up window is the exact same as the window given on the federal exchange!
Access Health CT uses an active purchaser model for their exchange. This means that Access Health CT negotiates with health insurance carriers directly to get the best rates, networks, and benefits possible for you.
Like all other state exchanges, each plan on Access Health CT covers 10 essential health benefits. These include things like prescription coverage, maternity and mental health care, and laboratory services.
Buying insurance with Access Health CT involves four steps:
1. Create an account on Access Health CT
2. Complete the online application form
3. Compare your options
4. Select your plan and enroll
In true health insurance fashion, each of these steps can be trickier than you expect. Many people need help navigating the website, estimating their income, figuring out if they are eligible for subsidies, and understanding what documents are needed for proof of income, citizenship, or identity. Luckily, you can attend an enrollment fair where you can get in-person help with your application!
Access Health CT’s Intricacies: What You Need to Know for 2019
Both insurers that offered plans on Access Health CT for 2018 will continue to do so for 2019. This means both carriers are returning to the exchange. These two carriers include:
- ConnectiCare Benefits, Inc.
Since 2016, ConnectiCare has made up the majority of the Connecticut health insurance market.
According to a recent Connecticut Insurance Department press release, insurance plan prices are increasing. The amount by which it increases depends on where in Connecticut you live. On average across the state, your monthly premium will increase by only 2.72 percent if you choose to keep your current health plan. While this may seem scary, Anthem plans are actually seeing an average 2.7 percent decrease, and ConnectiCare’s average increase is only 4 percent. Not to mention, you will likely qualify for a health insurance subsidy, which can help make your plan more affordable; of the 111 thousand people enrolled through Access Health CT,78 percent receive federal subsidies.