Connecticut insurer drops threat to exit state exchange over premium rift

It appears ConnectiCare will continue selling marketplace plans in 2017 after all.

The Connecticut insurer threatened to pull out of the state’s exchange last week following a dispute with state regulators over proposed premium increases for 2017. ConnectiCare originally requested an average 17.4 percent premium increase in August, but later amended its request to more than 27 percent, according to the Hartford Courant.

After the state approved the lower rate hike, ConnectiCare filed an application for temporary injunction arguing that the state’s insurance commissioner “failed to consider all of the evidence in the administrative record” when approving the marketplace premium increase. In the filing, ConnectiCare threatened to “exercise its right to terminate its participation in the exchange” by Friday.

On Tuesday, however, ConnectiCare reversed course and agreed to continue selling federally subsidized plans during the upcoming open enrollment period.

“After hearing from state officials, providers and beneficiaries about the importance of our plan to Connecticut, we have decided to move forward into 2017 as a plan on the exchange at the rates approved by the [Insurance] Department,” ConnectiCare CEO Michael Wise said in a statement to the Courant.

The decision came as a relief for state officials, since ConnectiCare’s departure would have left Connecticut with just one insurer--Anthem--selling policies on the state exchange. ConnectiCare has been recognized for its ability to enroll members in marketplace plans and remain profitable by drawing on its success with Medicare Advantage plans.

Connecticut is not the only state where there are concerns about competition on the public exchanges. Pinal County, Arizona, came close to having no exchange participants for 2017. Meanwhile, several GOP senators have proposed exempting individuals for paying the individual mandate penalty if they live in a county with zero or one exchange insurer.