WNPR

Head Of Connecticut’s Health Care Exchange Cautions On Market Uncertainty

Aug 3, 2017

The U.S Senate recently rejected a number of Republican plans to repeal, replace, or just overhaul the Affordable Care Act. But the health care debate is far from settled.

Jim Wadleigh, CEO for Access Health Connecticut -- the state’s health care exchange -- said he's now concerned that the two remaining insurers offering exchange plans, Anthem and Connecticare, could leave, and tens of thousands of people would lose coverage.

That could lead, Wadleigh said, to more people seeking regular care not from their doctors, but from their closest hospital, which costs a lot more.

“Customers going to the hospital, using the hospital as their primary care physician -- because by law, hospitals cannot turn away individuals,” Wadleigh said. “They may wait until much later in their illness, so by the time they do go to the hospital, it’s harder to resolve those issues, which then translates into much higher costs into the system.”

Wadleigh said in order to avoid that, carriers need certainty from the Trump administration and Congress that there will not be cuts to vital payment subsidies for low-income customers.  

Trump has threatened to end the crucial payments unless the Senate returns to its "repeal and replace" effort.

“We all would say that the Affordable Care Act, as created, has not been perfect, and there are lots of opportunities for improvement,” Wadleigh said. “I think we are seeing the beginnings of bipartisan conversations -- in early September -- to talk about ways to improve that health care.”

Anthem and Connecticare have until September 8 to declare whether they'll participate in the state health exchange next year.