Connecticut Health Insurance
The Affordable Care Act is responsible for many changes to Connecticut health insurance. As part of the law, insurance companies are no longer able to deny coverage to individuals based on pre-existing health conditions, and individuals must purchase health insurance or pay a tax penalty. Connecticut is one of 27 states including Washington D.C., to expand Medicaid coverage, which will help more people get health coverage.
Many states have set up health insurance exchanges. In Connecticut, the health insurance exchange is called Access Health CT. These exchanges work as comparison sites for multiple insurance plans so you can measure your needs against available coverage.
After enrolling in the exchange during open enrollment, you will answer a short survey about your income and family size. This will help determine whether you qualify for a subsidy and which policies are within your price range.
Policies are divided into tiers of bronze, silver, gold and platinum depending on the out-of-pocket costs policyholders must pay. Bronze and silver plans will have lower monthly premiums but higher out-of-pocket costs than gold and platinum plans. Once a plan is chosen, you will purchase the policy from the health care provider.
More than 57,000 Connecticut residents have purchased health insurance through the new exchange as of April 2014, and nearly 74,000 others qualify for Medicaid or CHIP.
Do I qualify for a health insurance subsidy?
To reduce the cost of health insurance, the Affordable Care Act provides subsidies to individuals and families with an income between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level. This means individuals who earn between $11,490 and $45,960 may qualify for a subsidy; a family of four with income between $23,550 and $94,200 may qualify. Typically, subsidies are determined using 2013 federal poverty level limits, and Medicaid and CHIP eligibility are typically determined using 2014 limits.
Health insurance companies participating in Access Health CT
Three companies are participating in the state-run insurance marketplace.
Aetna and United Healthcare originally had plans to join the state health insurance exchange, but they have since withdrawn. Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield continues to be the largest provider of health insurance in the state.
Health care solutions for low-income families
Low-income individuals and families looking for Connecticut health insurance have several options for obtaining affordable health care aside from subsidies. Medicaid, called HUSKY in Connecticut, has been expanded in the state to cover residents with higher incomes. Coverage is available to individuals with incomes below $16,105. A family of four with income less than $32,915 may qualify for Medicaid.
State residents looking for coverage through HUSKY will need to apply through Access Health CT’s website, as Medicaid is brokered through the insurance exchange.
Connecticut health and coverage statistics
Connecticut population (2013): 3,596,080
Population 65 and older (2012): 14.8 percent
Life expectancy (2010): 80.8 years
Number of Medicaid beneficiaries (2012): 520,700
Number of Medicare beneficiaries (2012): 474,600
Estimated number of uninsured residents (2012): 293,100
Overall state health ranking: 7
Sources: Kaiser Family Foundation, U.S. Census Bureau, America’s Health Rankings 2014 report.
Health insurance resources
Connecticut Department of Health Care Services: http://www.ct.gov/dph/site/default.asp
Access Health CT: http://www.ct.gov/hix/site/default.asp
Connecticut Department of Insurance:http://www.ct.gov/cid/site/default.asp
Connecticut Department of Aging: http://www.ct.gov/AgingServices/site/default.asp
Kaiser Family Foundation: http://kff.org/tag/connecticut/