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Voices Speaking

July 21, 2015

Changes to HUSKY Parent Income Eligibility: How to Help Families

The Department of Social Services, Access Health CT and community partners are gearing up for the rollback in income eligibility for parents and caretaker relatives currently on HUSKY A.  Parents with family income above 155% of the federal poverty level (e.g., $31,140 for a family of three) will be notified soon that the income limit for parent coverage has been reduced. The reduction in the eligibility level from 201% FPL to 155% FPL was included in the final state budget that passed at the end of June.

Most of the affected individuals (about 22,000) will be notified that effective August 1st they will remain on HUSKY coverage but under a different category called "transitional medical assistance". These are parents in families with income from a job. Once they are moved to TMA they remain eligible for HUSKY for a full year. 

A much smaller number of parents (about 1,500) will receive a notice in August that their coverage may change effective September 1, 2015, because their income is over the new income limit as well. These are families without income from a job.  

However, these parents may still qualify for HUSKY coverage but under a different category, such as pregnant women coverage (263% of FPL, e.g., $52,837 for a family of three). They may remain eligible for full or limited HUSKY coverage if, for example, they 1) have breast or cervical cancer, or tuberculosis, 2)are blind or disabled; 3) have recently turned 65, 4) have very high medical bills, or 5) need family planning services.

These parents and caretaker relatives will be given an opportunity to notify the HUSKY program that they fit into another HUSKY coverage category before their coverage ends.  

If they no longer qualify for HUSKY coverage under any category then they may qualify for commercial insurance through Access Health CT. (It is possible to be enrolled in limited HUSKY coverage, such as family planning, and also qualify for commercial coverage through AHCT). Families are likely to be eligible for subsidies through AHCT to help pay for premiums, co-pays and other out-of-pocket costs to purchase this insurance. DSS and AHCT are supposed to work together to make the transition as smooth as possible for the affected families.

Children in the affected families remain covered under HUSKY A so long as family income stays below 201% FPL. The children will not be moved to another HUSKY coverage category and they should not receive a termination notice. We have revised the HUSKY Tip sheet we distributed at the June Covering Kids & Families meeting to reflect this information.

Along with the notice about the change in income eligibility level for parents, families will receive a hearing request form. If a family disagrees with the information in the notice, for example, because their income is below 155% FPL, they should immediately request a hearing. So long as the family requests the hearing within ten days of the notice they can keep their HUSKY coverage pending the outcome of the hearing.   

For questions about eligibility, contact Access Health CT at (855) 805-4325.

For problems, contact Legal Services at (800) 453-3320.

Issue Area:
Health
July 10, 2015

Connecticut Voices Played a Critical Role Advancing Opportunity for Children

Over the past six months, Connecticut Voices for Children has engaged in research and advocacy to improve the well-being of kids and families across the state. Our efforts have been cited by both elected officials and news media as playing an important role in the advancement of family-friendly legislation and the development of a more equitable budget.

Highlights of our work this session include:  

  • Helping Youth in Care Make the Transition to Adulthood

    We hosted our 4th annual Youth at the Capitol Day event that brought over 50 youth involved with DCF and foster care to advocate for themselves in front of legislative leaders and policymakers. This culminated in the passage of legislation that will give youth in foster care a greater voice in their permanency planning, identify important adults with whom they have relationships, and visit their siblings to maintain important family connections. 

  • Keeping Children in the Classroom

    We published a comprehensive report that analyzed student arrests, expulsions, and suspensions and made recommendations to help keep kids in class. This led to the passage of legislation that will reduce the use of exclusionary school discipline by requiring greater communication and collaboration between schools and police, creating a clear and consistent definition of students arrests, and disaggregating and making public student arrest data by race, gender, ethnicity, free and reduced price lunch status, and English Language Learner status.

  • Tracking Investments in Early Care and Education

    In May, we analyzed the Legislature's budget proposal, both overall and with a separate brief focusing on early care and education. We also published our Early Care and Education Data Tables and a series of blog posts analyzing Connecticut's investment in early care and education, the number of children served, the settings in which they were served, and the educational attainment of the early childhood workforce. This longitudinal analysis helped to shape the conversation on legislative priorities for early childhood throughout the session, and acts as an invaluable resource for the early childhood community.

  • Protecting Children and Families in the Proposed Budget

    We analyzed the effect of the Governor's budget proposal on programs affecting children and families, and produced a separate brief specifically examining early care and education. These briefs highlighted the unfair cuts contained within the budget proposal,which disproportionately affected programs and services that serve children and families.

  • Finding the Resources to Support the Children's Budget

    We released a brief detailing a number of options to raise revenue to fund services for vulnerable children and families. When the Legislature released its revenue package in April, the majority of these ideas were included.

In June, the final budget passed by the Legislature contained the full or partial restoration of many of the cuts we opposed, including health coverage for pregnant women and low-income parents, developmental services, education and programs such as Community Plans for Early Childhood, Improving Early Literacy, and Help Me Grow. Funding for such services included numerous sources of revenue first advocated by Voices.

  • Supporting Sustainable Budgeting

    In April, we were invited to present to the Finance Committee regarding reforms to the state's Rainy Day Fund. Citing our involvement, the committee unanimously approved these reforms, which were included in the final budget.

Throughout the session, we worked with a number of elected officials who spoke up on behalf of children. Please take a few minutes now to call your local legislators, along with the legislative leadership listed below and the Governor, and thank them for their hard work this session.

Leadership Contact Information:

Senate President Martin Looney
(800) 842-1420; Looney@senatedems.ct.gov

Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff
(860) 240-0414; Duff@senatedems.ct.gov

Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey
(800) 842-1902; Brendan.Sharkey@cga.ct.gov

House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz
(800) 842-1902; Joe.Aresimowicz@cga.ct.gov

Appropriations Committee Co-Chairs:

Senator Beth Bye
(800) 842-1420; Beth.Bye@senatedems.gov

Representative Toni Walker
(860) 240-8585; Toni.Walker@cga.ct.gov

Finance, Bonding & Revenue Committee Co-Chairs:

Senator John Fonfara
(800) 842-1420; John.Fonfara@senatedems.gov

Representative Jeffrey Berger
(800) 842-1902; Jeffrey.Berger@cga.ct.gov

Contact Information for the Governor:

Governor Dannel Malloy
(800) 406-1527; Governor.Malloy@ct.gov

We could not do this work without your support. Thank you for continuing to be a strong voice for children!

Issue Areas:
Budget and Tax, Child Welfare, Early Care, Education, Family Economic Security, Health, Juvenile Justice

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