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A Letter from our President & CEO Late last week, New York’s Department of Financial Services (DFS) mandated a 23 percent average premium increase for CareConnect small group plans – significantly more than the 16.8 percent we requested. While we are greatly disappointed with this outcome, I want to make sure you understand why it has occurred and what we’re doing to mitigate its impact. As you’ve seen in the news, a major portion of the rate increase can be attributed to the Federal Risk Adjustment program, which includes flawed methodology that is adversely affecting nearly all insurers in New York State. Without CareConnect being forced to pay risk adjustment fees, our proposed increase for 2017 would have been considerably less—similar in fact to prior years. The Risk Adjustment program was originally designed to protect insurance companies that happen to enroll a higher-risk population. Under the program, CMS assesses and collects payments from plans whose individual and small group enrollees have lower actuarial risk, and then redistributes that money to plans whose enrollees have higher actuarial risk. In theory, it is intended to level the playing field. The reality, though, is that the program’s flawed methodology actually penalizes carriers like CareConnect that lack historical data on their members. Moreover, it assesses the New York population as one of the sickest in the country, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Because of these issues, the risk adjustment program results in a significant reduction in competition throughout the New York market by requiring almost all insurance companies except the largest carrier to pay into the program. Despite these mandated rate increases, CareConnect will continue to offer some of the most affordable 2017 small group plans in the market. In fact, while we are still awaiting details on increases for specific plans, early assessments indicate that our premium delta remains significant compared to our competitors, ensuring that CareConnect will continue to be a great option for both your cost-conscious clients and those that look for the benefit of integrated care. We are also pushing DFS to find a permanent solution that recognizes the unique characteristics of the New York health insurance market. They are in the process of determining how the Risk Adjustment program can be improved for the long-term in order to protect competition and consumers. While those discussions are ongoing, we are taking concerted steps to obtain the data we need to improve our risk adjuster score. Some of these initiatives entail member outreach, and we will be offering you the opportunity to participate in this effort in the near future. Suffice it to say, we don’t take these rate increases lightly. We understand all too well their impact on our members, as well as the difficulties they create for you. That is why we are working so diligently to remedy the situation as we continue to deliver on the CareConnect vision. Thank you for your continued support. I look forward to seeing you all at our annual Broker Seminars next month. Alan J. Murray President & CEO, CareConnect