HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Many consumers who signed up for health insurance coverage through Connecticut's insurance marketplace were calling the Department of Insurance on Thursday, concerned they have not yet received a bill or identification card.
Department spokeswoman Donna Tommelleo said the agency's consumer affairs unit was experiencing greater than average call volume, primarily from people who signed up for health insurance that was supposed to take effect Jan. 1.
"The phones aren't ringing off the hook, but they are busy," she said.
The state agency is trying to assure people that all parties are working hard to make sure consumers are enrolled, billed and entered into the insurance companies' computer systems as soon as possible, she said.
"The most important thing we are stressing to these callers is to be patient," Tommelleo said. "This is an unprecedented time, because there are a record number of people who have applied for coverage with an effective date of Jan. 1."
In Connecticut, consumers had until Dec. 23 to sign up for coverage that would take effect on Jan. 1. The state's insurance marketplace, Access Health CT, received a crush of applicants in the days leading up to the Dec. 23. Since open enrollment began on Oct. 1, Access Health said it has enrolled a total of 62,153 residents in plans that started Jan. 1, with more than 34,000 in private insurance plans and the rest in government-funded Medicaid plans.
In addition to not yet receiving a bill, some callers to the Department of Insurance have said they're having trouble paying their bill online, reaching their carrier, or reaching Access Health CT. Tommelleo said other callers complained that they've been approved for Medicaid through the exchange but haven't yet received an ID card.
Three insurance companies, Anthem, ConnectiCare Benefits Inc. and the new nonprofit HealthyCT Inc. are offering individual plans on the state insurance marketplace during open enrollment, which ends March 31. Under an arrangement reached with Access Health CT, they've agreed to accept premium payments until Jan. 10. However, they must be in the possession of the insurance company by that date.
HealthyCT took an extra step last week to send its new enrollees a letter, reminding them of the Jan. 10 deadline. About a third of the January premium payments have been received so far, a spokesman said. The insurance company also set up a secure member portal, which went live on Dec. 30, where enrollees can print out a temporary identification card. If HealthyCT receives the January payment after the 10th the coverage takes effect on Feb. 1.
Access Health has encouraged new enrollees to call their insurers if they haven't received a bill yet. Anthem customers should call 1-855-738-6644 to have a bill mailed or emailed to them. ConnectiCare customers should call 860-674-5757 or 1-800-251-7722, while HealthyCT customers should call 1-855-458-4928. People deemed eligible for Medicaid should contact the state Department of Social Services at 1-855-626-6632.
Those seeking help from the Department of Insurance can call the consumer affairs unit at 860-297-3900.