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Friday morning state legislators gathered for a press conference outlining their concerns that DSS plans to force 60,000 HUSKY consumers today into new HMOs that are not ready for them. DSS chose to default today any HUSKY families who are still in Anthem’s network or in traditional Medicaid into only two of the three HMOs that will continue in the program – Aetna and AmeriChoice. DSS has decided to only default members into the two new HMOs and not into the other HUSKY HMO, CHN, because the new HMOs need the money, disregarding the needs of families. Aetna and AmeriChoice’s networks of providers are far less robust than CHN’s which is built on CT’s network of community health centers. As Rep. Nardello stated, “A HUSKY card without anyone to go to is a false promise.” Legislators and advocates are concerned that HUSKY members without access to providers will be forced into the ER for needed health care, raising program costs even higher.
In a letter, CT’s Congressional delegation echoed state legislators’ fears and expressed concern that CMS’ oversight of DSS and the HUSKY program has been inadequate. The letter also points out that the financial impact of this shift is unknown, but may cost far more than retaining the current system.
In an environment of shrinking state and federal revenues, closing off options and forcing clients into inadequate health plans that received an unprecedented 24% rate increase this year is imprudent for taxpayers and dangerous for HUSKY families.
Ellen Andrews