Connecticut residents not slowing down signing up for health insurance under Obamacare
The top executive of a quasi-public agency that provides Connecticut residents with a health care coverage marketplace under the Federal Affordable Care Act says the threat of the law being eliminated by the Trump Administration isn’t keeping people from signing up.
“Our data does not show us that we have struggled to enroll people past the elections, said Jim Wadleigh, chief executive officer of Access Health CT.
This year’s open enrollment period end Jan. 31 and, as of Jan. 20, there are 106,891 consumers enrolled in health care offerings made available through Access Health CT. And the agency’s Small Business Program — which offers health care plans for small businesses with 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees — has grown to record enrollment numbers, Wadleigh said.
“We’re seeing the highest membership growth since the program’s start,” he said.
But despite those gains, Wadleigh said the transition between presidential administrations has created confusion in the Connecticut health care marketplace.
“Since the inauguration, we have seen an uptick in the number of calls that we have fielded,” he said. “There is a lot of confusion about whether it (Affordable Care Act) is still around.”
If the decision is made at the federal to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, Connecticut health care consumers would have some time to make other arrangements. State law requires insurers to provide six months’ notice of plans to withdraw coverage, said Donna Tommelleo, communications director for the Connecticut Department of Insurance.
Adding to the confusion of Connecticut consumers is the departure of two insurers that were in the program last year. United Healthcare and the state’s nonprofit health insurance co-op, HealthyCT. Two insurers, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and ConnectiCare, remain in the Access Health CT marketplace.
Wadleigh said that 10,000 Connecticut consumers who used had brokers — local insurance agents — to sign up for one of the Access Health CT offerings in the past are not part of the exchange this year. He attributed the loss of customers to a decision by Anthem Blue Cross and ConnectiCare not pay brokers commissions.
“A broker’s job is to know the insurance offerings and know the customers needs,” Wadleigh said,
The Access Health CT board of directors took a step Thursday to address that problem. Insurers who participate in the exchange in 2018 will be required to pay commissions to brokers.
Call Luther Turmelle at 203-680-9388.