Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

October 2, 2020

Access Health CT’s small biz exchange rebounds from COVID-19 dip

Photo | CT Mirror DSS has hired over 100 new staff members to help with Medicaid unwinding. The agency is also ramping up the number of contracted staff to support its shared operations with Access Health CT, including call centers and data entry.

A state-run health benefits exchange for small businesses experienced double-digit unenrollment rates during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, but has since bounced back.

Between January and April, Access Health CT’s Small Business Health Options Program, known as SHOP, lost 36 of its small employer groups, or 11%, which contained 297 total members, representing 20% of SHOP’s total membership.

SHOP has long struggled with low enrollment and last year launched a plan to reinvent itself.

The COVID-19 losses erased recent gains the exchange had made coming into 2020.

However, as of Aug. 1, SHOP had regained those losses and surpassed January’s total slightly.

As of August, small groups numbered 338, up from 314 in January, after bottoming out in April at 278. Nearly 100 of those groups are in Hartford County, making it the single largest county for SHOP enrollment.

Overall SHOP membership, which includes all beneficiaries (children and spouses) listed on a health or dental plan, grew to 1,530 as of August, up from 1,508 in January, and from 1,211 in April.

“As we see enrollment increase, it becomes more apparent than ever that health insurance is critical,” John Carbone, Access Health’s small business and product development director, said in a statement. “During the pandemic is not a time to dismiss healthcare coverage."

With its numbers stabilized, SHOP now heads into one of the busiest periods of the year for renewals and new enrollments, November and December.

“As we move into the health insurance enrollment season, we encourage Connecticut small business owners and brokers to connect with us,” Carbone said.

Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF