Access Health CT storefront


James Wadleigh 1 e1492805946230 336x264
Access Health CT CEO, James Wadleigh Dropping Retail Locations in New Haven and New Britain

Kyle Constable

HARTFORD: Facing a shortened enrollment period, Connecticut’s health insurance exchange announced Wednesday it plans to scale back its two existing storefronts and redeploy resources to broaden its reach.

The decision comes as the exchange, Access Health CT, remains stuck in a rut created by months of uncertainty at the national level. The exchange is anxiously awaiting a critical decision from the White House that will influence whether the individual marketplace’s two insurers will offer plans again next year.

By: Kyle Constable

connecticare kelsey
Connecticare actuary Kelsey, tries to lay out the numbers behind the company's proposed rate increases.

Hartford: Two of the state’s largest health insurers came face to face with hostile customers and dissenting advocates at a hearing last week over another year of requests for double-digit rate hikes.

The stakes are even higher this year because the state Insurance Department’s final decision on the rate requests will influence whether the two remaining insurers on Connecticut’s health insurance exchange, Access Health CT, return in 2018.

The Insurance Department selected those two insurers, Anthem and ConnectiCare Benefits, for public hearings as part of an ongoing review of the sizable rate hikes they are requesting. The insurers say the increases are necessary to stem financial losses in their individual and small-group plans, both on and off the exchange.

starlingGlastonbury: A leading physician owned multispecialty medical practice Starling Physicians hasexpanded east of the river at 289 Western Boulevard.

The “integrated” practice doctors treat, Allergy, Cardiology, Orthopaedics/Sports Medicine, Physical Therapy, Podiatry, Pulmonary, Rheumatology and surgery

“We are thrilled to be opening a new state-of-the-art facility in Glastonbury,” said Tracy King, Chief Integration Officer of Starling Physicians.“

insurance ratesBy Ana Radelat

Hartford: The state’s health insurers are asking for sizeable rate increases for individual and small-business policies sold in 2018, led by Anthem, which is seeking an average 33.8 percent increase on plans covering individuals and their families.

The insurers blamed the size of their rate hikes in large part on the unsteady future of the Affordable Care Act, which congressional Republicans are attempting to repeal.

ConnectiCare has asked the Connecticut Insurance Department for an average rate hike of 15.2 percent on policies it sells through Access Health CT, where it now covers about 51,000 people.

cadeucesInsurers: Trump hasn’t committed to payments that would keep them in ACA exchanges

By Ana Radelat

Washington: Despite reports to the contrary, President Donald Trump has not committed to making payments that insurers like Anthem say are needed for them to consider staying in Access Health CT and other state health insurance exchanges.

Kristine Grow, spokeswoman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, said the Trump administration has said it would make Cost-Sharing Reduction, or CSR payments for the month of May, but “is not committed to long-term payments.”

“So essentially we remain in the same place we’ve been for the last couple of months,” Grow said.

The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

stvincentsBRIDGEPORT: In meetings in late February [see report] hospital executives told employees that it was considering a potential sale or merger in the future.

No formal documents had been presented to the Connecticut Department of Public Health for any action.

In an article in March 5th edition of the CT Post, Dianne Auger, senior vice president and chief strategy officer at the hospital, said in a statement. “Given the rapidly evolving health care landscape, at some point in the future, we believe it may be best for St. Vincent’s to explore strategic alignments with a local or regional health system so that we can continue to best serve our community." She added, “it should be noted that we are not currently in negotiations to do so,” Auger continued. “We want to assure the members of our community that our 3,700 associates and medical staff are privileged to continue the legacy of the Daughters of Charity who arrived in Bridgeport to found St. Vincent’s Hospital, and we plan on doing so far into the future.”

the american health care act gopBy, Arielle Levin Becker,

Members of Congress will begin moving forward today with efforts to pass the American Health Care Act, a proposal to replace many of the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act, the health law commonly known as Obamacare.

House Republicans say their plan will provide relief to those burdened by higher taxes, increased premiums and limited insurance options as a result of Obamacare.

cadeucesBy Mitchell Young

WASHINGTON: Aetna [NYSE: AET] and Cigna [NYSE:CI] have watched their huge mergers collapse this month under the weight of lawsuits brought by the Obama administration.

The Justice Department  won a first round legal ruling against the Anthem [NYSE: ANTM] Cigna deal and Cigna said enough is enough. Anthem said no way, and now the would be couple are talking trash and in court. 

Cigna CEO David Cordani was among the health insurance executives that met with the President. Cigna and Anthem are suing the hell out of each other, over their busted deal, both sides are claiming the other guy wanted to scuttle the merger. Some recent reports say that with a new administration, Cigna, Anthem's merger could be resurrected.

Health insurance CEOs met with President Trump on February 28 and are hoping for a friendlier environment for consolidations.The mergers between Aetna and Atlanta  based, Humana [NYSE: HUM] and Cigna with Anthem were first expected to go forward, a political backlash ensued and the Justice Department sued to prevent the mergers.

The US District Court in Washington DC, sided with the Justice Department in a ruling in January against the Aetna / Humana merger. The court action was enough fighting for Aetna, who called off the deal, in spite of having to pony up a billion dollars to Humana as a breakup fee. 

Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini was once seen as among America's most liberal big company CEOs, as he criscrossed the country arguing for higher wages - $16 in big corporations. Alas, the healthcare titan has learned that "no good deed goes unpunished."  Bertolini has been excoriated on social media and in the courts over statments he made about the ACA Healthcare Exchanges. Aetna was accused of threatening to ditch participation in the ACA Exchanges if the Feds didn’t approve Aetna’s merger with Humana. Bertonlini insisted his comments were taken out of context, and said Aetna was losing too much money on the Exchanges and needed the merger for scale. in order to stick with the Health Care Exchanges. He also has said the ACA Exchanges were in a “death spiral,” that could win him big points with the President. 

Aetna CEO, Mark Bertolini , will he take his football to Boston?

In Connecticut only two insurers still sell health insurance on Connecticut’s Exchange, ConnectiCare and Anthem. ConnectiCare announced they were pulling out of the Exchange in September and then backtracked after a meeting with state officials. Connecticut industry sources have told us, that the State is potentially showing forbearance on ConnectiCare’s finances to keep them in the Exchange.

Connecticut regulators did shut down Healthy CT a Healthcare Insurer provided with $70 million as part of the Obama Adminstrations attempt to create more competition among insurers., HealthyCT like ConnectiCare was popular on the Exchange, but they were overtaken by underwriting loses.

Neither Senator Chris Murphy nor Senator Richard Blumenthal both Democrats supported Aetna or Cigna's merger plans. Murphy said he didn’t “oppose” the merger, but was focused only on Connecticut jobs.  Blumenthal demanded the Justice Department stop the mergers.

Aetna has been reportedly looking at office space to move their headquarters to Boston, in what very well could be payback for the a lack of support from Connecticut’s Democratic delegation with the Obama Admiistration

The Hartford Courant report on the meeting with the President