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Budget options being considered by the administration if negotiators are not able to agree on labor concessions include cutting HUSKY parent eligibility from the current 185% of the federal poverty level ($34,281/yr for a family of three) to 133% ($24,645 for that same family). The Rowland administration made a similar cut in 2003, causing thousands of working families to lose coverage. A qualitative study of the impact at the time (www.intheirownwordsct.org) described eight families’ stories including Elizabeth and her son Sean. Elizabeth was a substitute teacher with heart disease who lost HUSKY coverage and was no longer able to afford her blood pressure prescription. A few months later she had a heart attack and was admitted to Yale-New Haven Hospital, incurring $40,000 in medical bills she had no way to pay. She was reinstated on HUSKY due to those bills and recovered with the help of many medications. Unfortunately her six months of coverage ended just after our study and she again stopped taking vital medications. Within a month she had another attack and was wheeled out of her classroom to an ambulance. For the sake of $3,144 in HUSKY coverage CT could have avoided paying $40,000 in hospital bills for her first attack, and likely more for her second, as well as preventing serious damage to Elizabeth’s heart and her family.
Ellen Andrews