CTNJ op-ed: Health insurance affordability review is good, but it’s no silver bullet

A movement to include affordability in the Insurance Department’s review of health insurance premiums is gaining champions. That’s a good thing. The best care is useless if you can’t afford it. Holding insurers accountable for lowering costs is important, but it’s not going to solve everything. We need to do much more to get costs…

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CT’s best healthcare secret — CID’s Consumer Report Card

It may not attract the same enthusiasm as other holidays this time of year, but if you’re shopping for health insurance during this Open Enrollment season, you need this resource. As a health policy researcher, there are few better sources of information on how insurers are performing. The Consumer Report Card on Health Insurance Carriers…

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Mental health workforce swamped by need, what needs to happen

A few recent reports have raised alarms about whether our healthy system’s mental health capacity can meet the need, and what we can do about it. The need is great. A mid-September Household Pulse Census survey found that 361,729 Connecticut residents reported feeling anxiety nearly every day and 219,164 reported depressive thoughts nearly every day.…

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CT hospital readmission penalties higher than US, again

Even with an eased formula due to COVID, all but one acute care Connecticut hospital will be penalized by Medicare next year for higher-than-expected readmission rates. Next year, Connecticut hospitals will be docked by 0.456% on their Medicare payments, higher than the US average of 0.428%. Average Connecticut hospital readmission penalties have been higher than…

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Study finds Americans living in liberal states, like CT, live longer but we can do better

Recently, working-age Americans’ mortality has reversed its historic declines, largely due to lack of progress on heart disease, and rising deaths due to alcohol, suicide, and drug poisoning. A new study finds that from 1999 to 2019, mortality for adults ages 25-64 was lower in states with liberal policies, like Connecticut, and worse in conservative…

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CTNJ Analysis: Yale-New Haven Health announces layoffs while planning to buy 3 hospitals, and why it matters

It’s puzzling. Yale-New Haven Health System recently announced 72 layoffs and eliminated 155 positions among their managers, but they scored large profits last year and they have enough money to buy three more Connecticut hospitals. If approved by the state, the acquisitions will make Yale the largest health system in the state. We should all…

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DSS responds to advocates’ questions about HUSKY maternity bundles

More than one in three Connecticut births are covered by the HUSKY program, including some pregnancies at risk for poor birth outcomes. DSS has an ambitious plan to change the way providers are paid for those births. The goals are to improve equity, lower C-section rates, poor maternal outcomes, lower opioid-related pregnancy conditions, and reduce…

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Best kept secret: You now have free access to all your medical records

As of last Thursday, under new federal rules, healthcare organizations must give patients timely access to all their medical records in digital format without cost. This reverses the usual practice that only gave patients costly access to just some of their data, while data brokers profited by selling deidentified data and analysis to drug companies,…

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Number of uninsured CT residents continues down despite COVID

Download the report The latest numbers from the US Census on US health coverage last year find that there were 184,000 uninsured Connecticut residents (5.2%) in 2021, down 23,000 from 2019 (at 5.9%). Both years were far below 2013, before implementation of the Affordable Care Act, when 333,000 or 9.4% of state residents were uninsured.…

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Primary care spending boost and capitation didn’t work in private plans either

The big idea circulating in some CT health policy circles to control the costs of healthcare is to boost primary care with tons of money and capitate provider payments. Primary care is regular health care for prevention, like check-ups, and common health problems. A new study finds that the idea failed in private insurance, as…

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