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CT Moves Forward on Health Care Reform

June 24, 2011

Caring Families Coalition would like to thank all the individuals and groups who acted on improving CT’s health care delivery system.  Your voices were heard and systemic changes have been passed.  Below is a synopsis of the legislation that passed. 

 SustiNet was consolidated with the partnership bill, HB: 6308 and maintains the changes in our health care delivery system with its focus on prevention, offering affordable health care and the pooling of groups and individuals.

SustiNet features:

  • A SustiNet Health Care Cabinet in the Lt. Governor’s office will integrate health care reform, promote initiatives to improve health and spend the state’s health care budget in a cost efficient way.
  • A new Office of Health Reform and Innovation will support the Lt. Governor’s office and Cabinet and function as the state’s central coordinator of health policy.
  • The bill directs the SustiNet Health Care Cabinet to produce a business plan for a nonprofit insurance option.
  • The SustiNet Health Care Cabinet will assess the feasibility of the state offering the Basic Health Program (designed to serve people with incomes between 133% and 200% of federal poverty level) beginning in 2014.
  • SustiNet opens the state employee plan to municipalities in 2012 and state related nonprofit organizations in 2013.

How does SB:11: An Act Concerning the Rate Approval Process affect me?

 CT’s Dept. of Insurance has been approving insurance rate increases submitted by insurance companies for individual policies, thereby incurring 20-47% rate hikes for some premium holders.  This bill will add transparency to the rate review process as well as expand it to include small groups and long term care policies to keep premiums affordable.

  • For rate requests over 10%, a symposium can be requested to review in detail and publicly the reason for the increase.The Dept. of Isurance Commissioner, Attorney General or Health Care Advocate can request a symposium with a limit of 10 per year.
  • The public will be notified of the symposium date, time and place and it will be conspicuously publicized on the Dept. of Insurance website.
  • The Attorney General and/or the Health Care Advocate may present evidence and information, question the insurance representatives and present a closing argument at any rate filing symposium.

Although progress has been made this year, the economic climate will keep health care services in the forefront with federal and state deficit budgets.  Your assistance to remain proactive to keep these needed reforms to expand and improve our health care delivery system is vital.

What do I need to do with this information?

  • SB:11 needs your assistance in making sure Governor Malloy will sign the bill.  Please call his office to encourage this process.  Telephone: Local: 860-566-4840, Toll-Free 1-800-406-1527 or email  http://www.governor.ct.gov/malloy/cwp/view.asp?a=3998&q=479082
  • HB:6308 has a timeline that needs to be monitored
    • 2011 Appointees for the SustiNet Health Care Cabinet which begins working in September and for the Consumer Advisory Board.
    • 2012 Towns may join state employee plan and Nonprofit business plan to be completed.
    • 2013 Qualified nonprofits may join state employee plan
    • 2014 The integrated health care system should include the state employees, Medicaid and Husky, Health Insurance Exchange, Basic Health Program and Nonprofit Option by 2014.
  •  The nonprofit option cannot begin until 2014 due to lack of state funding.  In 2014, the federal government will be assisting states with funding.  In the meantime, individuals or small groups with pre-existing conditions will be subjected to high rates.  Most likely, as with the federal health care law in state courts, repealing HB:6308 will be the focus of the opposition.  Your personal testimony of the hardships you are experiencing as a result of your lack of health coverage is needed to reinforce the need.
  •  The Medicare and Medicaid programs are in danger of being privatized due to federal budget deficits.  Opposition forces attempt to trim and delete these programs rather than seek decreasing in other areas such as military spending.  Your personal testimony on how you and/or your family would be affected if these programs were to be eliminated or transferred to proft companies is necessary to fight these ongoing battles.
  • Are you concerned where you will spend your savings; in your own home or in a retirement facility? Do you know if it is worth paying for a long-term insurance plan?  It is time to be proactive and innovative in determining and demanding your future health care needs.

Caring Families Coalition is a nonpartisan advocacy coalition that unites groups, families, and individuals, and encourages collective action to improve or protect health care. We provide members with information, trainings and opportunities to advocate for positive change. CFC does not sell health care products or accept money from health care companies.

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