Conn. Health Insurance Request Average Premium Rate Hikes as High as 52%

Only two insurers offering coverage on exchanges in Conn. filed for double-digit rate increases

Activists hold signs opposing the Republican-led health reform and shout at lawmakers / Getty Images

Health care insurers in Connecticut have requested premium rate hikes as high as 52.1 percent, according to the state's insurance administration.

The state has just two insurers participating in the Obamacare exchanges in 2017. Both have requested rate hikes in the double digits.

Anthem Health Plans, which covers 35,000 individuals on the exchanges, requested a minimum rate hike of 19 percent and a high of 52.1 percent. On average, the company requested a rate hike of 33.8 percent.

For employers with 50 or fewer workers, Anthem requested an average rate increase of 31.6 percent.

ConnectiCare Benefits Inc., which serves 50,907 individuals in the state, requested a minimum rate increase of 8.4 percent, a max of 18.7 percent, and an average hike of 15.2 percent.

Insurers said cost drivers include the Health Insurance Tax, accounting for 2 to 3 percent of premiums, rising health care costs such as prescription drug prices, higher demand for medical services, deteriorating claims experience, lack of enforcement of the individual mandate, and lack of stability in the risk-adjustment program.

Insurers operating off the exchanges requested an average rate hike ranging from a low 3.6 percent to a high of 26.3 percent in the individual and small group markets.

In October 2016, the Obama administration announced that premiums for 2017 would rise by double digits. According to the Kaiser Foundation, rate increases are a result of the increasing number of insurers experiencing losses on the exchanges.

"Nationwide, average Marketplace premiums for 2017 are increasing more than they have in the past two years," the Obama administration said. "For the median HealthCare.gov consumer, the benchmark second-lowest silver plan premium is increasing by 16 percent this year, before taking into account the effects of financial assistance."

Insurers are now filing rate requests for 2018, seeking even higher premiums. Health insurers in Maryland recently requested rate increases as high as 150 percent.