October 31, 2018

Access Health beefs up customer service ahead of open enrollment

PHOTO | Contributed
PHOTO | Contributed
Access Health CT CEO James Michel.

The open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act opens Thursday and will run through mid December.

It's the sixth open enrollment for Connecticut's Obamacare exchange, Access Health CT, which recently named a new CEO.

Access Health said it's launched a free, in-person service to help Connecticut residents enroll or re-enroll for healthcare coverage for 2019.
Starting Nov. 1, certified brokers, enrollment specialists and Access Health staff will be available at several locations around the state during weekdays and Saturdays.

Enrollment centers will be available on weekdays in West Hartford, East Hartford, Manchester, New Britain, Stamford, Milford and Waterbury, among others.

Access Health CT says enrollment fairs will be held on Saturdays.

The exchange will offer 17 individual plans from two insurers next year, and 14 small business plans from two insurers on its SHOP exchange.

Individual policies will see an average increase of 1.4 percent in 2019, while SHOP rates will be up by under 3 percent.

Discussing open enrollment at an Access Health board meeting earlier this month, Julie Andrews, consulting actuary with Wakely Consulting Group, said rates are suppressed.

"One of the things that I've observed not just in Connecticut, but across the nation, is that the increases for 2019 are much lower than what we've seen in past years," Andrews said.

Key factors suppressing rate growth include a moratorium on the federal health insurance provider fee for next year, which is worth 2-3 percent to rates, Andrews said. In addiction, medical and pharmacy trend have both slowed.

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