Briefs and Reports

Closing the Health Insurance Affordability Gap: Two Options For Connecticut

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.

The report, prepared by 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%.
Authors: Cindy Mann, Allison Orris, Ashley Traube, Manatt Health