Human Services Committee passes bill delaying HUSKY HMO contracting and delinking from Charter Oak

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Today the Human Services Committee passed a stripped down version of HB-5618, An Act Concerning Revisions to the HUSKY Plan. The new language would delay HUSKY contracting with HMOs until July 1, 2009, delink procurement of HUSKY from the Charter Oak Plan, and provide for a study of recent changes to HUSKY including implementation of PCCM. The Chairs promised that other provisions in the original bill, namely continuous eligibility and removing premium assistance, will be addressed by the committee in another bill and that the committee will also address needed changes to Charter Oak. Comments in favor of the bill included the need “to take a breath” after the recent “bold changes” in HUSKY, evaluate the impact, and make thoughtful decisions about the future of the program next session. Legislators also noted the unfairness to HUSKY families of asking them to make complex plan changes twice in four months. Members of the committee noted that linking HUSKY and Charter Oak was never discussed last session and “if Charter Oak is such a good plan, it should be able to stand on its own.” Comments opposing the bill centered on not allowing “the perfect to be the enemy of the good” and giving the administration a chance to implement both together. Numerous concerns about Charter Oak were raised including the lack of mental health parity, questions about sustainability, and the lack of answers to their questions raised months ago in a legislative forum. Several expressed a hope that all the parties will work together to fashion a plan that works. The Governor has threatened to veto the bill.
Ellen Andrews