The rising cost of health insurance remains one of the top concerns for Connecticut businesses.

Government regulations and mandates are among the leading cost factors, while many Connecticut residents and businesses also pay special fees subsidizing the state-run healthcare exchange.

CBIA supports legislation requiring legislative approval for proposed assessment or user-fee increases and term limits for Access Health CT's appointed board of directors.

SB 318 requires Access Health CT to hold public hearings on proposed assessment and fee increases, followed by legislative action.

The exchange subsidizes premiums for an estimated 71% of the 111,000 people who purchase individual and small group plans, with the monthly subsidy averaging $438.99.

Access Health CT's operating costs are funded through a 1.65% assessment on all individual and small group premiums, whether sold on or off the exchange.

That assessment, which can be raised through a simple majority vote of the exchange's board, adds around $139 annually to an insurance policy with a $700 monthly premium.

"Each time the assessment is raised, these costs are passed along to employers in the form of higher premiums," CBIA's Michelle Rakebrand told the legislature's Insurance and Real Estate Committee Feb. 14.

"While the cost of this assessment may seem nominal on its face, it is only one of numerous mandates, assessments, and fees that contribute to the ever-increasing cost of health insurance for both small and large employers."

Employers Bear Costs

She said Connecticut employers, through cost sharing, contribute substantially to healthcare premiums and costs for their employees.

"But with each new requirement to cover or expand additional services or devices, the cost of health insurance increases, especially to small employers who are not required to offer health insurance, but choose to," Rakebrand said.

She also testified in favor of SB 322, which imposes term limits on members of the exchange board while also requiring them to have insurance experience.

The board, which is chaired by the lieutenant governor, is a nonelected body with the power to levy fees arbitrarily and unilaterally.

"Limiting a member's term on the board and requiring previous insurance experience will ensure revitalized expertise and accountability to the board," Rakebrand said.

For more information, contact CBIA's Michelle Rakebrand (860.244.1921) | @MRakebrand