Health Care Changes on the Horizon? Let’s Hope So

By Lynne Ide

dreamstime_xs_74375973.jpgLabor Day has passed and summer is fading in the rearview mirror.

Looking at the road ahead, our state has the potential for some healthy change looming on the 2017 horizon.

I don’t mean the change that the November federal and state elections hold.  I don’t mean the change that New England seasons bring.

The change I’m watching for is what our state decides to do about health care.

Health care is costing us all more than we can afford.  Everyone has a story about rising premiums, costly co-pays, skyrocketing drug costs – and worse 

What few people know is that a handful our state’s elected leaders, health care advocates and interested parties have been working since early this year to tackle challenging problems in our state’s health care “system.”

The state’s Healthcare Cabinet is grappling with how to get a handle on rising costs while promoting quality care.  A 2015 law (Public Act 15 -146) requires the Cabinet to study what has been done in other states and develop CT-specific recommendations for action by December 2016.  We wrote about tough decisions last month.

The Certificate of Need (CON) Task Force is working on the challenges of increased cost, as well as decreased choice and access, created by the consolidation of the state’s hospitals and medical practices.  Governor Dannel Malloy’s executive order, charged the task force with issuing a report to the state legislature by December 2016 with recommendations on how the state’s regulatory body (Office of Health Care Access) can more effectively deal with the shifting health care landscape.

At the same time, people are facing daunting double-digit 2017 rate increases and possibly fewer choices in the state’s health insurance market.

Just today, ConnectiCare, one of only two insurers offering policies via Access Health CT (the state’s health insurance exchange), announced that it is taking the Insurance Department to court because they were denied the full rate increases that they wanted.

ConnectiCare’s 2017 rate requests for plans offered on the exchange, were decreased by the Insurance Department from a 27.1% average to 17.4% average.  In addition, ConnectiCare is saying they may just pull out of the exchange market altogether.  This would leave Anthem as the lone choice in the exchange.

Will our state legislature and Governor Malloy take a hard look at what is going on in our state and ask themselves what they can do to address the real health care struggles felt by everyday people? 

The recommendations of the Healthcare Cabinet and the CON Task Force, combined with a faltering health care marketplace, should give our state’s leaders plenty of fodder for action.

I believe bold action is an imperative.  Do you?

Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut would like to hear from you.  Please share your health care story with us at:

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