Filed Under:Health Insurance, Individual Health

Connecticut exchange gets 9 intent notices

The Connecticut exchange wants to be an
The Connecticut exchange wants to be an "active purchaser." (AP photo/Bob Child)

Nine insurers have expressed an interest in selling major medical or dental coverage through the Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange.

The five insurers that are thinking of selling major medical coverage through the exchange are Aetna (NYSE:AET), ConnectiCare, Healthy CT, UnitedHealth's United Healthcare unit (NYSE:UNH), and the Anthem unit of WellPoint (NYSE:WLP), Connecticut exchange officials said.

The four insurers that are thinking of selling dental coverage through the exchange are Delta Dental, Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, MetLife and Renaissance Dental, officials said.

Exchange officials asked insurers to submit non-binding notices of intent to participate in the exchange bidding process by Jan. 4.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) calls for state and federal agencies to set up exchanges, or Web-based health insurance supermarkets, by Oct. 1. States can choose whether to run their own exchanges, share the job with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), or turn the entire job over to HHS.

PPACA requires carriers that sell major medical coverage through an exchange to include pediatric dental and vision preventive care benefits in the "essential health benefits" (EHB) package. An exchange also can offer stand-alone, supplementary dental and vision plan products that provide richer benefits for children, benefits for adults, or a combination of benefits for adults and richer benefits for children.

A state that runs its own exchange can decide whether to let any willing, qualified insurer sell any qualified health plan through the exchange, or work as an "active purchaser" to use the exchange plan selection process to encourage plans to offer lower prices, richer benefits and better service.

Connecticut is setting up its own exchange, and the exchange will be using the active purchaser approach, officials said.

The Connecticut exchange expects to complete exchange product certification by Sept. 30, officials said.

The Connecticut Insurance Department "must approve all forms and rates before a plan may be certified by the exchange," exchange officials said.

The exchange board is still working on basic exchange plan requirements, such as standardized plan design details. Comments on plan design are due Jan. 22.

The board strategy committee is set to meet Jan. 24, and the full board is also set to meet Jan. 24.

A search on the website of eHealthInsurance.com, an existing commercial health insurance exchange, indicates that eHealthInsurance.com now offers major medical plans from six carriers -- the same carriers that submitted notices of intent to bid and also Cigna Corp. (NYSE:CI).

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