Hoping for More Than Just Insurance in Connecticut in This Round of Obamacare

Nov 4, 2015

Just because you have health insurance doesn’t mean you use it.

The third year of health insurance enrollment under the Affordable Care Act is here. But the goal now isn’t just increasing the number of people with insurance. It’s also making sure they go to the doctor. 

Connecticut’s residents, on paper, have done pretty well with the three-year-old healthcare law. Before it was enacted, about eight percent of the state’s residents didn’t have insurance. Now, that number is about half that.

But just because you have health insurance doesn’t mean you use it -- maybe you just got it to avoid paying the federal penalty for not having it, or maybe you’re rarely sick. But that doesn’t make people like Jim Wadleigh happy.

“Between 30 and 40 percent of all of our customers have healthcare coverage but don’t have a primary care physician and are not going for their well visits," said Wadleigh, the CEO of Access Health CT, the state agency that runs the insurance marketplace in Connecticut. “One of the things that I’m trying to do is get the success of the exchange away from this thing called the uninsured rate. It’s still important. But, around the country, it has been the big barometer for success.”

And Wadleigh said there could be other indicators, like if people are going to the doctor and staying healthy. 

“Beginning this year, we’ve now begun sending out birthday cards to remind people to go out and visit their family doctor and get their checkups because it’s included in what they’re getting from their carrier," he said. 

But before you can go to the doctor, you have to be insured and stay insured. Open enrollment for the ACA began this past weekend. It runs through the end of January.