HARTFORD, Conn. (Nov. 18, 2020) – Connecticut can take action to expand affordable health care coverage options for low-income state residents who are most at risk of being uninsured, according to a report released by the Connecticut Health Foundation.
As Connecticut continues to grapple with COVID-19, the number of state residents struggling to pay for health care coverage is likely to increase. While affording coverage and care is a challenge for nearly all residents, the group most likely to lack coverage are those whose incomes fall just above the threshold for HUSKY, as Medicaid is known in Connecticut. As a result, many in this income range are at risk for poor health outcomes – due to delayed or avoided care – and medical debt if they get sick.
Ensuring that more state residents have health insurance can improve overall health, promote a healthier workforce, and bolster efforts to lower overall health care costs, according to the report.
The report, prepared by Cindy Mann, Allison Orris, and Ashley Traube of Manatt Health, identifies two approaches the state could take to ensure the availability of affordable coverage for adults with incomes just above the HUSKY threshold:
- Raise the income limit for Medicaid to cover more low-income state residents. The federal government would pay half the cost of this coverage.
- Help reduce the cost of buying insurance through Access Health CT, the state’s health insurance exchange, by creating state-sponsored subsidies to complement federal financial assistance that already exists. Other states have done so or have plans to, and research indicates they can be effective. In Massachusetts, for example, using subsidies to reduce monthly premiums by about $40 increased enrollment among eligible people by 14% to 24%.
“Connecticut has made great progress to expand health care coverage to low-income state residents, but it’s clear that many people are still struggling with the costs and need more affordable options,” said Tiffany Donelson, president and CEO of the Connecticut Health Foundation. “We have seen from the pandemic that the health of each individual is critical to the health of us all. Having health care coverage is essential for good health, and it’s important to recognize that there are steps the state can take to ensure more people can get covered.”
In addition to presenting coverage options, the report identifies key factors to consider when assessing potential policy changes that expand coverage.
The foundation plans to continue exploring coverage options, including with modeling research to identify the likely impact and cost of each option.
For more information, please contact Arielle Levin Becker at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203-901-2363.