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Insurer sues Connecticut regulators over 2017 rate cut ruling

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ConnectiCare Benefits is suing Katharine Wade, the Connecticut insurance commissioner, over allegations that the department used a flawed process to review its 2017 rates.

The Farmington, Connecticut-based insurer says, in a complaint filed with a state court in New Britain, Connecticut, that a decision by the commissioner, Katharine Wade, to cut its proposed 2017 rates threatens its solvency.

The company is asking the court to provide a temporary injunction vacating Wade’s rate decision and requiring her to consider more information.

Related: 3 spasms of 2017 health rate filing pain

A representative for the department said the department received the complaint Tuesday morning and is still reviewing it.

“The department will not comment on pending litigation, other than to say it stands by the process by which the ConnectiCare rate application was reviewed and the decision that was reached,” the representative said.

ConnectiCare Benefits is one of just two carriers that has expressed an interest in selling coverage through Access Health CT, Connecticut’s state-based Affordable Care Act public exchange, in 2017.

Regulators in Hartford say ConnectiCare filed the revised rate proposal late. (Photo: Thinkstock)

Regulators in Hartford say ConnectiCare filed the revised rate proposal late. (Photo: Thinkstock)

Connecticut says a deadline’s a deadline

Originally, the company asked for on-exchange individual rate increases averaging from 13 percent to 19.2 percent.

In August, after the company learned that a failed Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan carrier, and a unit of Minnetonka, Minnesota-based UnitedHealth Group, would be leaving Access Health CT, ConnectiCare asked the state for permission to increase its 2017 rates by 26.5 percent to 33.7 percent.

The Connecticut department rejected ConnectiCare’s request to change its rate proposal, noting that the request had come in after the state’s rate filing deadline.

“By failing to approve adequate rates, the commissioner violated Connecticut law and imperiled ConnectiCare’s long-term ability to continue to provide the individual on-exchange product to members in Connecticut,” the company says in its filing.

Indianapolis-based Anthem has also filed the forms it needs to file to sell products through Access Health CT in 2017.

Jim Wadleigh, the chief executive officer of the exchange, said ConnectiCare’s departure could have a silver lining for the residents of Connecticut.

“While it’s true that competition benefits the consumer, in this case there could potentially be a silver lining for the residents of Connecticut,” Wadleigh said today in a statement. “Anthem could create a more diversified risk pool which could help them control and help stabilize the cost of the various policies it offers to customers throughout the state.”


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