By Rosana Garcia
At the end of March, we reported on Health Care Bills That Made the Cut, pointing out some bills that made it through their respective committees for potential passage through the House and Senate.
Today, in Part 1 of the 2016 Legislative Update, we’ll look at how these bills fared. Next week, in Part 2, we’ll highlight some other important health care related bills.
Network adequacy moves forward
SB 433 (now Public Act 16-205) focuses on ensuring consumers have access to providers in their network without having to travel too far or wait months for an appointment. It also puts in place some important consumer protections. This is what is known as “network adequacy” – which essentially means that your health plan’s network actually has the doctors you need close by.
Keep an eye out for a future blog on the consumer protections in this bill – it will be important to know what you can do if you run into issues regarding your network.
Changes at OHCA on hold
HB 5451 was a promising bill, which would have made changes to the Office of Health Care Access (OHCA) statutes, and was submitted by the Department of Public Health. The bill would have expanded reporting required by health care facilities, which would also have influenced the Certificate of Need (CON) process.
It is not surprising the bill did not pass, given the current scrutiny of OHCA and the CON program. As you may recall, Governor Malloy issued an executive order that put a stop order on any Yale-New Haven Health or Hartford HealthCare acquisitions, and established a Certificate of Need (CON) Task Force. Changes at OHCA will have to wait until the Task Force has completed its work.
Pregnancy is no cause for special enrollment
SB 370, though originally not voted out of committee, managed to make it out via a petition, under the Assembly’s Joint Rule 19. This bill required that health plan provider lists were up-to-date and accurate, as well as made pregnancy a qualifying event for health insurance special enrollment.
Despite its odd journey, the bill was never called for a vote.
No new financing options for independent hospitals
A bill aimed at expanding financing options for independent hospitals (HB 5454), via the Connecticut Health and Education Facilities Authority, also failed to pass after making it out of committee. This is disappointing, as it would have been a way to provide independent community hospitals alternatives to consolidation, mergers, acquisitions and conversions to for-profit facilities.
HUSKY for parents stays the same in the budget
Last year HUSKY (Medicaid) parent eligibility was changed so that almost 18,000 parents were no longer eligible. Additional cuts to parent eligibility were proposed, but in the end, the parent eligibility level was maintained at last year’s level.
While deeper cuts weren’t made this year, there are still those 18,000 people losing coverage as a result of 2015 legislative action.
Stay tuned for more on 2016 health care related bills next week in Part 2!