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DSS has posted an advocacy-style fact sheet about Charter Oak and opposing HB-5617 which would delay implementation to allow more thoughtful planning. HB-5617 will be heard in the Human Services Committee later this morning. The flyer includes several positive quotes about Charter Oak from letters and emails to the Governor’s office. But it leaves out the critical ones, particularly those voicing concerns about the unfairness that people would have to drop health insurance for six months to qualify. Many consumers in CT struggle to afford individual coverage; $250/month premiums would offer significant relief. Why exclude them?

From Friday’s bidder’s conference — excerpted from Jennifer Jaff’s notes, Executive Director, Advocacy for Patients with Chronic Illness. Many thanks to Jennifer for braving the storm to bring us these notes.

The six month waiting period is to reduce “crowd out” – people leaving private coverage to enroll in Charter Oak. (Why do we care, if they are not in the subsidized bands? If the state can save people money over private insurance, why not do it? This shouldn’t be about supporting the insurance industry but offering affordable options.) There are at least three addenda to the RFP – the latest changes were posted to DSS’ website last Thursday. The bids are due in just over two weeks, but DSS is considering an extension. The state is considering ways to get enrollment up in new plans – including giving preference in assigning members to new plans. There was a new assertion that the reason to link HUSKY and Charter Oak is to provide a “bridge” between public and private coverage. The plans have to calculate the expected costs of prescription drugs and behavioral health (which are carved out) which will be subtracted from the rates. Consumers will pay their premiums to the state. DSS is exploring getting federal matching funds for Charter Oak and expects to submit a waiver to the legislature. And if the plans can’t meet the $250/month target, DSS is willing to be creative in benefit structure. (So much for legislators’ appeals for good coverage.)
Ellen Andrews