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An interesting story by Arielle Levin Becker at the CT Mirror asks whether Charter Oak will survive after Governor Rell leaves office. The best thing about Charter Oak is that people with pre-existing conditions are not excluded from coverage; under national health reform, that exclusion will be prohibited in all health insurance in 2014. It is also unclear whether some of Charter Oak’s limits in coverage that consumer advocates have criticized will be allowed in any coverage plan. There is also a question about the sustainability of funding. Currently, there are concerns that Charter Oak’s monthly $307 premiums are sufficient to sustain the costs of care for patients attracted to a safety net plan. As Charter Oak is now linked to HUSKY, insurers can spread the costs over a much larger pool. (An audit by the Comptroller’s Office found that the plans are overpaid in their HUSKY rates). If HUSKY converts to a non-risk model as is called for in the budget, in which plans are paid only an administrative fee and the state pays all medical bills, Charter Oak’s premiums will have to reflect just the higher risk of those consumers alone. Given the looming $3 billion deficit next year, it is unlikely that the state will subsidize the program. In the article, all the candidates for Governor expressed doubt about Charter Oak’s future.
Ellen Andrews