(CBS Connecticut) — Some companies that provide individual health insurance plans are again seeking rate increases of more than 30 percent for 2018.
The companies seeking the increases provide coverage through the Access Health CT exchange, and on their own.
On the exchange, Anthem is seeking to hike rates by 33.8 percent for its plans. Off the exchange, CT Care and CT Care Insurance are seeking increases of 22 percent and 26.3 percent. The figures are averages for all of the plans offered by each insurer.
Companies offering health insurance for small employers with fewer than 50 employees are mostly seeking rate increases of between 10 and 15 percent, with some exceptions.
State Insurance Commissioner Katharine Wade says the insurers report increased healthcare costs, and more claims.
“People who are sick are getting care, and people who have not gotten care, are getting care. It may be preventative in nature,” Wade said.
Wade says the increases are also driven by uncertainty in Washington.
“The uncertainty that is driving the rates this year is how strictly the Internal Revenue Service is enforcing the individual mandate,” Wade said. “We are getting conflicting reports around that.”
As a result of a presidential executive order, the IRS could be easing enforcement of the individual mandate that forced people to pay an extra tax if they did not have health insurance.
If there is less enforcement of the penalty, more people might decide not to get health insurance, and narrow the pool of people paying into the risk pool.
Health insurers sought similar, large increases in rates last year for 2017.
Last year, the Insurance Department reduced some of the requested premium hikes. Similar hearings are scheduled to begin June 14.