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About Health Issues

Key Health Issues

  • The HUSKY Health program (Medicaid) is a pillar of Connecticut’s health care infrastructure. HUSKY Health is a central component of Connecticut’s health care system, providing low-cost or free health care coverage for about 275,000 children and nearly 134,000 parents and pregnant women. One in four children in the state relies on HUSKY Health for preventive and comprehensive health care services.  Cuts to HUSKY – in the form of increased premiums and co-pays, reduced benefits, increased enrollment barriers, and eligibility restrictions – would weaken this infrastructure and increase the numbers of uninsured. 
  • Cuts to HUSKY are penny wise and pound foolish. The federal government reimburses Connecticut for about half of every dollar of spent on HUSKY A (Medicaid) and 65 cents for every dollar spent on children in HUSKY B (CHIP) in Connecticut. So to “save” $1 in state funds, policymakers would need to cut over $3 in HUSKY funding for children’s health coverage.  HUSKY cuts would result in more uninsured residents, who may forego preventive care, leading to more expensive emergency room visits and hospitalizations. These higher health care costs will simply be shifted to other areas of the budget, providers, low-income persons, and private insurers.
  • The State has changed its model for providing care in the HUSKY Program.  As of January, 2012, managed care organizations no longer participate in the HUSKY Health program, where they were paid a flat monthly fee to cover children, pregnant women and families.  Under that arrangement, the plans were liable for  most of the costs of medical care.  Under the new arrangement, the State will pay for medical care, but a private contractor (CHNCT) will provide administrative support functions, such as assisting families in finding a doctor, conducting outreach to enroll providers, and tracking utilization of services.  It will be important to the State, as well as families, to determine whether this new model provides better access to timely and appropriate care at lower cost. 
  •  National health care legislation provides opportunities to strengthen the HUSKY Health Program (Medicaid). Connecticut’s Office of Health Reform and Innovation and the Health Insurance Exchange Board are tasked with improving access to health coverage for the uninsured, coordinating coverage with HUSKY Health, and promoting health and wellness for children and families, including those on HUSKY.
  • Many children enrolled in HUSKY are not receiving the preventive well-child care that is important to identify health problems early and to reduce the need for emergency care or more costly health care services later on. Pediatric care guidelines established for Medicaid under federal law call for regular preventive well-child exams.  In 2008, just 57 percent of children ages 2 to 19 received well-child care, down from 65% in 2006.  About 16,000 children (14% of those enrolled for an entire year) did not get any health care at all.

Highlights of our publications & legislative testimony

See all of our health publications.

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