The legislature’s Insurance and Real Estate Committee has raised SB-596, An Act Concerning the Duties of the CT Health Insurance Exchange, and will hold a public hearing on the bill Thursday. SB-596 requires the CT Health Insurance Exchange to actively purchase health coverage for the estimated one in ten state residents who will purchase health…

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Connecticut health care thought leaders give our state a C+ on health reform again this winter; grades have varied between C and C+ over the last year. Connecticut also again earned a C+ for effort in this survey. Among issue areas only Medicaid improved since last Fall. Five areas lost ground particularly health information technology…

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At today’s meeting the CT Health Insurance Exchange Board unanimously approved an admittedly unaffordable standard benefit plan. The plans include costs up to hospital (inpatient and out) deductibles $4,000, copays of $30 for primary care visits (not for preventive care – that is not allowed under the ACA), $45 for specialists, and $500 for outpatient…

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Sen. Joe Crisco, Co-Chair of the Insurance and Real Estate Committee, has filed bills to protect consumers in health reform. An Act Concerning the Duties of the CT Health Insurance Exchange directs the exchange to actively negotiate premiums with insurers on behalf of consumers. Other states are using negotiation to keep premiums more affordable. An…

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Comptroller Kevin Lembo is holding a roundtable on men’s health January 23rd at 10:30 am in Room 2A of the LOB. The roundtable is part of the ManUp public education campaign to improve men’s use of preventive care and improve health outcomes. Roundtable speakers include providers, consumers and insurers. OSC has also launched Open CT…

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The Medicaid Oversight Council has a new, comprehensive website. It is now easy to find the calendar for the Council and its many committees, presentations, quarterly reports, agendas, minutes, legislation, and program information. A huge step forward in transparency and sharing information that can improve health. Many many thanks to Council staff. Last week’s Council…

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The draft standard plan proposal for the CT Health Insurance Exchange includes copays of $40 to $45 for a physician visit (CT 2011 average $23.79), $150 ER copays, and deductibles up to $3,000 for individuals and $6,000 for families (CT 2011 average $1,331 and $2,500 respectively). Better, more affordable plans are currently available in CT…

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CMS announced approval of 106 new Medicare Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) today, including six serving patients in CT. ACOs are integrated networks of local providers across the care continuum that share in the savings generated by coordinating care while maintaining quality. Among the new approvals are Hartford HealthCare, St. Francis HealthCare, and ProHealth serving only…

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Former ConnectiCare CEO, Mickey Herbert, has joined Harvard Pilgrim Health Care as a consultant. Harvard Pilgrim has applied for a license to expand to CT’s insurance marketplace. He resigned from the CT Health Insurance Exchange Board a month ago, adding to growing conflict of interest concerns. Concerns have been raised about Board members ties to…

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CT’s hospitals are the lowest among all 50 states in earning Medicare quality payments starting this month – only hospitals in DC performed worse. Medicare’s value-based purchasing program will tie a portion of hospitals’ payments to the quality of care they deliver. Only 4 of CT’s 29 acute care hospitals will receive a quality bonus;…

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