With open enrollment in the state health insurance exchanges only eight months away, Connecticut is working hard to meet the October deadline.
A mandate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, (known as ACA or Obamacare), the exchanges will be health insurance marketplaces where Americans in the individual and small business markets will have something they’ve never had before – purchasing power. For the 350,000 uninsured and 180,000 people buying their own insurance in Connecticut this is extraordinarily good news.
Connecticut wants to design an exchange that goes beyond mandated guidelines by offering increased choices and innovative products. Toward that end, the Board has asked insurance carriers to submit an additional insurance option for each level of coverage required by the reform law. In addition, the exchange will also provide dental coverage from stand-alone dental insurance carriers.
A few things about how the exchange will work
- Like Travelocity, the exchange will be user-friendly allowing consumers to easily compare pricing, plan benefits, quality ratings and hospital and doctor networks offered by the plans.
- People can enroll 1) online, 2) through a toll-free call center or, 3) in one-on-one sessions with brokers and “navigators.”
- “One-stop” shopping will be simplified because the exchange will connect to other databases such as Medicaid and Children Health Insurance programs.
Some of the Federal mandates
- Plans must have a minimum list of comprehensive benefits.
- Each plan must have four levels of coverage from “platinum” covering 90% to “bronze covering 60% of health care costs
- Deductible limits: Individual $2,000 and Family $4,000
- Out-of-pocket cost limits: $5,000 individual and Family $10,000
- Credits towards premium costs for incomes up to 400% of the federal poverty level
- Subsidies for out-of-pocket costs for incomes up to 250% of the federal poverty level
- Tax credits of up to 50% toward premium costs for small businesses as well as a Small Business Options Program, SHOP.
To date, Aetna, Anthem, ConnectiCare, HealthyCT and United Health Care plan to participate on the exchange as well as Delta Dental, The Guardian Life Insurance Company, MetLife and Renaissance Dental who’ll be offering dental coverage.
“We are very pleased with the response from these leading insurance carriers,” says Kevin Counihan CEO of the Ct Health Insurance Exchange Board who headed up a California private health exchange and helped design and implemented the Massachusetts exchange. And “we look forward to working with them to bring a transparent, consumer centric insurance marketplace to Connecticut so small businesses, the self-employed and the approximately 9.6% uninsured in Connecticut can find a plan to suit their needs.”
For more info on the Connecticut Exchange go to http://www.ct.gov/hix