Medicaid, Anthem Dominate Early Days Of State Health Exchange

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The state’s largest health insurer by membership is also the favorite among people buying plans on Connecticut’s health exchange, Access Health CT.

Two-thirds of people who bought private health plans on the exchange selected Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Connecticut, the largest insurer in the state. ConnectiCare was second with 31 percent of the market, and a new insurer backed by federal loans, Healthy CT, has captured only 2 percent of the market so far.

“Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is a trusted partner and a leader in the health care industry,” Anthem spokeswoman Sarah Yeager said in a prepared statement. “With more than 76 years as the leading carrier in the state, Anthem is a market place leader in the individual and small employer markets and we are uniquely positioned to succeed in the Health Benefits Exchanges.”

It’s still early, less than three weeks into an enrollment period that extends through mid-March 2014. During a routine board meeting Thursday in Hartford, Access Health CT offered statistics about how many people have enrolled.

As of Oct. 15, customers to the exchange included 1,857 people who enrolled in Medicaid and 1,897 who enrolled in private health plans. An additional 93 qualified for CHIP, which is Children’s Medicaid.

That is 51 percent into Medicaid and 49 percent into private plans. Among those who bought private plans, 59 percent qualified for a federal subsidy, or tax credit, available to people who earn up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level.

Connecticut’s uninsured population is about 344,000, according to Access Health CT, and the number of people signing up is admittedly slow. Access Health CT had 1,358 applications during its first week and 621 during its second week. The total number of applications — 2,372 — is less than the total number of people enrolled — 3,847 — because some applications are for couples or families with more than one person.

Access Health CT operated throughout a partial shutdown of the federal government, and “we were poised to operate whether the shutdown continued or not,” said Steven Sigal, chief financial officer at Access Health CT.

 

About Matthew Sturdevant

Full-time staff journalist at The Hartford Courant and magazine freelancer with a master's degree in writing from Dartmouth. My work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, Taiwan News, The Baltimore Sun and many other news sources. My blog has been referenced by Politico.com, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Georgetown Law Library and a number of organizations in healthcare and business. Sturdevant’s blog is "a well-written wealth of ideas," said The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, (businessjournalism.org, May 18, 2011). I have experience writing for newspapers, magazines, Web sites and blogs as well as shooting and editing video. I made regular appearances on news-talk radio and on the NBC affiliate station in Corpus Christi, Texas. I made occasional appearances on the Fox affiliate in Connecticut promoting Hartford Courant articles.

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