News Release

Grants will support story collection to spotlight health care affordability challenges

HARTFORD, Conn. (April 3, 2020) – As Connecticut residents struggle to afford health care coverage and care, grants from the Connecticut Health Foundation will support efforts to highlight the experiences of a particularly vulnerable group – residents whose incomes fall just above the limit to qualify for Medicaid.

“Health care costs are an increasing challenge for individuals and families across Connecticut, but they are especially problematic for low-income residents who have few if any affordable options and already face difficult decisions about how to spend limited income,” said Patricia Baker, president and CEO of the Connecticut Health Foundation. “As policymakers and others look for solutions to health care affordability challenges, it is critical that we be mindful of this population.”

In Connecticut, residents earning between 100% and 199% of the poverty level make up 13% of the population but 26% of those who lack health insurance. Those earning between 200% and 399% of the poverty level make up 23% of the population but 31% of the uninsured.

Medicaid is available to state residents with minor children if they earn up to 160% of the poverty level and, for those without minor children, up to 138% of the poverty level.

Those whose incomes are higher might be eligible for employer-sponsored insurance or, if they do not receive coverage through a job, subsidized coverage through the state’s health insurance exchange. However, those options might not be affordable for those already facing difficult budget choices.

To shed light on the choices and challenges state residents face when they have limited or no access to affordable health coverage and care, the Connecticut Health Foundation is supporting five organizations to collect stories from low-income residents across the state.

The organizations, which are each receiving grants of $10,000, are:

  • Community Health Center Association of Connecticut, Cheshire
  • Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance, Hartford
  • New England Healthcare Workers Union District 1199 SEIU, Hartford
  • New Opportunities, Inc., Waterbury
  • Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut, Wethersfield

“It is important for policy decisions to be made with input from those most affected, and with an understanding of the challenges individuals and families face,” Baker said. “These organizations have strong relationships with communities across the state and will be strong partners in elevating the voices and experiences of those most burdened by cost challenges.”

These grants are among seven grants awarded by the Connecticut Health Foundation this quarter, totaling $160,000.

Other grants awarded this quarter are:

Connecticut Oral Health Initiative, Hartford: $85,000

This funding will support the Connecticut Oral Health Initiative in its advocacy efforts to reduce disparities in oral health care. The organization’s work will include examining the impact of a recently implemented cap on oral health coverage for adults covered by Medicaid, working with school-based health centers to develop school-based dental sealant programs, advocating for the sustainability of school-based health centers as key access points for children to receive oral health care, and advocacy for the inclusion of oral health in health reforms related to data collection and outcomes measurement.

Discretionary grants

President’s Discretionary Grants are awarded to organizations and institutions that respond to the foundation’s overall mission or priority areas.

Connecticut Department of Public Health, Hartford: $25,000

This funding supported a summit on maternal and child health, hosted by the department, which featured experts including the U.S. Surgeon General. There are significant racial and ethnic disparities in infant and maternal mortality rates and adverse outcomes, and the lifetime effects of racism, poverty, and stress are among the factors. The summit also marked the beginning of a gold ribbon commission that will examine these disparities and work to reduce mortality rates.

For more information, please contact Arielle Levin Becker at or 860-724-1580 x 16. 

About the Connecticut Health Foundation

The Connecticut Health Foundation is the state’s largest independent health philanthropy dedicated to improving health outcomes for people of color. Since its creation in 1999, the foundation has awarded more than $66 million to nonprofit organizations and public entities to expand health equity, reduce health disparities, expand health coverage, and improve the health of all Connecticut residents.