WNPR

Connecticut's Health Care Exchange Faces Curtailed Open Enrollment

Oct 11, 2017

Connecticut’s health insurance exchange, Access Health CT, is ramping up for open enrollment. The Obamacare marketplace is facing a number of challenges this year. 

Right now, about 100,000 people in Connecticut rely on the exchange to buy their private health insurance.

Open enrollment in past years has been as long as four months. This year it will last just seven weeks beginning November 1.

Jim Wadleigh, CEO of Access Health CT, said that means his staff must work harder to reach out.

“With the shorter time period, we are spreading out even further around the state and we’re hoping that through this process we’ll allow more people to enroll,” he explained.

The exchange is planning five enrollment fairs around the state during October, and in November it will staff 10 outreach centers to give people in-person help.

One additional boost this year: the insurance carriers have agreed once again to pay broker fees, meaning independent brokers will be selling the plans.

While Access Health CT has its own marketing budget, the national budget for enrollment advertising has been slashed by the Trump administration.

Wadleigh said that’s bound to hurt with the absence of national TV ads.

“It’s hard for it not to have some sort of impact, in continuing the confusion that is going on in the marketplaces not only in Connecticut but at a national level,” he said.

In past years, Wadleigh said President Obama himself would tweet and create widely shared videos to publicize enrollment in his signature health program.

His successor seems unlikely to play that booster role this year.