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November 28, 2022

ConnectiCare to exit CT’s fully insured small group market

COSTAR ConnectiCare's headquarters at 175 Scott Swamp Road in Farmington.

Connecticut’s small group fully insured health insurance market is losing another major insurer. 

Farmington-based ConnectiCare, which is owned by New York’s EmblemHealth, emailed a letter to brokers Monday afternoon, notifying them the company “has made the difficult decision to withdraw from the Connecticut fully insured, small group market,” according to a copy of the email obtained by the Hartford Business Journal. 

ConnectiCare said it will no longer issue quotes to new customers for fully insured small group plans sold on or off the state health insurance exchange as of Dec. 1, 2022. Small groups with active ConnectiCare fully insured health insurance plans renewing after May 31, 2023, must transition to new coverage arrangements, according to the company’s email. 

The move will impact more than 20,000 people currently covered by ConnectiCare’s small group fully insured plans. It also comes only months after Harvard Pilgrim Health Care announced that it was exiting the state’s commercial insurance market, including small group plans. 

The exit of both companies means only four insurers are left serving the small group fully insured market. Aetna, Cigna and UnitedHealthcare/Oxford Health Plans offer small group fully insured plans off the exchange. Anthem offers fully insured small group plans on and off the exchange. The small group market serves companies with 50 or fewer workers.

Some insurers do offer other types of small group policies like self-insured plans that require the employer to take on more risk for claims. 

In a statement to Hartford Business Journal, ConnectiCare said the decision “was made after a thorough actuarial and financial review, which made it clear that we can no longer offer competitively priced fully insured small employer products in this market.”

“We understand this news comes at a challenging time, and we remain committed to serving our state’s small employers,” the company said. “We are making these changes to ensure the health and longevity of our business so we can continue to provide the high-quality health plans employers and individuals in our state depend on.”

ConnectiCare said the move will not lead to any layoffs and that it won’t impact the sale of its level-funded products for small employers.

Earlier this year the rising costs of small group plans received public scrutiny after insurers, including ConnectiCare, requested double-digit rate hikes for 2023. 

ConnectiCare requested an average 29.3% rate increase for its largest fully insured small group plan sold off  the exchange, which covers 16,281 people. However, the Connecticut Insurance Department only approved an average 15% increase. 

The company’s fully insured plan sold on the state’s health insurance exchange, Access Health CT, covers 3,476 lives. ConnectiCare requested an average 22.9% rate increase for 2023 plans, but was only granted a 15% average increase by the Insurance Department. 

During a rate hearing request in August, ConnectiCare President Karen Moran said her company sustained over $65 million in losses in the individual market over the prior year because rate increases did not keep up with higher utilization of medical services and the cost of prescription drugs, among other expenses.

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