CareConnect posts surge in enrollment

CareConnect CEO Alan Murray.

A surge in small-group enrollment has helped New York State’s first provider-owned commercial health plan triple its membership.

CareConnect, the insurance arm of Northwell Health, announced Tuesday that it recorded a 244 percent membership increase during its 2015-16 open enrollment season, which ended Jan. 31.

The insurer said it increased its enrolled members from 26,567 to 91,193 during the drive, including more than 88,000 effectuated members, meaning they’ve paid at least their first premium.

The “incredible growth,” including a 526 percent increase in small-group enrollment, is “a testament to New Yorkers’ desire for affordable, high-quality health insurance,” according to CareConnect CEO Alan Murray.

“We’re gratified to be able to bring our new approach to so many new members,” Murray said in a statement.

That surge in small-group enrollment – for employers with fewer than 100 workers – helped swing CareConnect’s membership makeup from roughly 60 percent individual enrollees to about 60 percent small-group enrollees, the company said.

Membership through the CareConnect plan covering Northwell Health employees and their families also spiked during the enrollment period, with the strongest growth among health system employees in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties, the company said. CareConnect now covers roughly 1,500 Northwell workers and their dependents.

Minus its in-house members, CareConnect’s roughly 89,500 customers represent just under 11 percent of the 827,000 commercial-insurance enrollees obtaining coverage through the New York State of Health exchange.

To meet the increasing demand, CareConnect has grown from 180 employees when it launched in January 2015 to 260 employees this month, and has beefed up its provider network with more than 7,000 new provider locations throughout the state, including partnerships with non-network hospitals and physician groups.

The innovative East Hills-based insurance provider has also created a number of premium-reimbursement features for a variety of healthy habits, offering enrollee paybacks for such things as gym memberships and participation in online health-risk assessments.