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Public Option, State Efforts

USofCare Testifies before the Connecticut Legislature in Support of The Connecticut Plan

Published On March 6, 2020

By: Joanna Dornfeld

Connecticut state capitol

Yesterday, I testified before the Connecticut Insurance and Real Estate Committee to support The Connecticut Plan.  

The Connecticut Plan, authored by Sen. Matt Lesser and Rep. Sean Scanlon, would allow small businesses, nonprofits, and union-negotiated health plans to buy-in to the state employee health plan. The bill also directs the Connecticut Comptroller to develop a state option for individuals, in consultation with the Connecticut Office of Health Strategy and a newly established Advisory Council.  USofCare has been partnering with leaders in Connecticut, including Comptroller Kevin Lembo, legislative leaders, and advocacy partners over the last year to support efforts to expand access to care.

Individuals and families are struggling with rising health care costs across the country. Connecticut is no different. A 2018 poll conducted by Altarum Healthcare Value Hub found that: 

  • 50% of Connecticut adults had difficulty affording health care; 
  • 43% of Connecticut adults reported delaying or forgoing care because of cost; and 
  • 24% of Connecticut adults struggled to pay a medical bill.

More than a dozen states across the country are exploring ways to leverage their existing state infrastructure, such as a state employee health plan, to add another, more affordable insurance option to the marketplace to best meet each state’s unique needs. Just as these states are forging their own paths, the Connecticut Plan has been carefully crafted to target the challenges in the state’s small group market and creating more options in the individual market.  

Small businesses employ over 700,000 people in Connecticut–almost half the state’s workforce–and yet less than half can afford to offer health insurance to their employees, leaving a quarter of employees with no access to health care from their employers, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute.  

A state’s economy is only as strong as its workforce, and strong economic growth in the state means ensuring that Connecticut workers and their families can afford the care they need to stay healthy and thrive. The Connecticut Plan builds on a successful existing approach to provide more affordable coverage options and increase choice – responding to the needs of small businesses and their employees.