This Week in CHCACTion
May 15, 2017
This Week in CHCACTivities
Actions in Washington, DC over the past week have sown a lot of confusion here in Connecticut and across the country over the current status and fate of the Affordable Care Act (aka “ACA” or “Obamacare”). There are many different synopses online about the bill that was passed – which is called the American Health Care Act – but the most important thing to know right now is that as of today, very little has changed.
If you have a plan through Access Health CT – you keep that plan until the end of the year. If you have HUSKY – you keep HUSKY. Employer sponsored insurance and Medicare have not changed yet.
Although the US House of Representatives did pass the American Health Care Act, the bill now has to pass the US Senate. Most experts believe the US Senate will make significant changes to the bill, which will then require another process, since the bill has to pass both the House and Senate in the same form.
Regardless, it does appear that the United States will have a new bill passed into law in the next month or so, which will make significant changes that will impact people on Medicaid (HUSKY), Access Health CT, Medicare – and even those with insurance through their employers.
Here are a few of the changes we are likely to see in the new bill:
- Medicaid will receive a large cut, currently pegged at $880 Billion. This means that states will receive less funding from the federal government for their Medicaid, which will likely translate to cuts in eligibility and/or cuts in services and/or cuts in payments to providers.The actual impact to Connecticut residents of this likely cut is not yet known. Please note: current discussions about cutting HUSKY in Connecticut are NOT related to federal action, but instead are a result of state budget challenges.
- States will be allowed to remove protections currently in place for “community rating.” Community rating means that insurers charge healthy people and sick people the same amount of money for insurance. If these protections are removed, people with pre-existing conditions could not be denied health insurance, but they could be charged very high rates, which could put insurance out of reach. Pre-existing conditions include pregnancy, diabetes, asthma, heart disease, organ transplant and more.
- States will also be allowed to have insurers sell plans that do not include the ten “essential health benefits” that Obamacare covers. So, people in certain states may have insurance plans offered that do not cover maternity care, mental health, prescription drugs or certain other benefits.
People may be attracted to the idea of a “skimpy” insurance plan, because it will cost less, but once they get sick, they may find it does not cover the services they need.
The federal government would significantly cut subsidies that currently assist people in purchasing health insurance through Access Health CT and other insurance exchanges.
Plus – one change, which did not require Congressional approval, has already been announced: Open Enrollment for 2018 will begin November 1, 2017 and run through December 15, 2017. This is a much shorter cycle than in past years, so CHCACT and FQHCs will need to get the word out to remind people to make appointments to enroll for 2018!
CHCACT will continue to keep you informed about these important issues. If you have any questions, please reach out to me!
This Week in Social Media
This Week in Funding Opportunities
This Week in Health Policy News
Here is a sampling of health policy news from around the state. If you see something in your local newspaper that you would like featured here in future weeks, please contact Deb Polun at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out all the Health Policy News from the past month here!
5.14.17 HamletHub: NCHC Dental Suite Brings New Reasons to Smile
5.10.17 Hartford Business Journal: Community Health Center Association of CT Selects eConsult Provider
5.9.17 CT Post: New Housing for Marina Village Moves Forward (feat. Southwest Community Health Center)
State Health News
5.15.17 Hartford Business Journal: Hartford HealthCare Begins Urgent Care Reset
512.17 Hartford Business Journal: Yale New Haven Health, Day Kimball Systems Align
5.9.17 CT Health I-Team: Number of Lead-Poisoned Children Drops, But More Show Higher Levels
5.8.17 CT NewsJunkie: Medical Marijuana Program Continues to Grow, As Debate About Legalization Continues
Health Insurance/Health Reform News
5.15.17 Kaiser Health News: Trump Says He Knows About Health Care, but Some of His Facts Seem Alternative
5.11.17 Fairfield County Business Journal: Cloudy Future for Access Health CT
5.8.17 CT Mirror: Health Insurers Seek Big Rate Hikes, Blame Obamacare’s Uncertain Future
National/Other Health News
5.13.17 Washington Post: The Painful Truth About Teeth
5.11.17 Becker’s Hospital Review: Embrace Reimbursement Reform for Community Health Centers
5.11.17 NY Times Op-Ed: What Spain Gets Right on Health Care
5.10.17 CT Health I-Team: Clinical Trials in Need of Diversity
5.9.17 Kaiser Health News: Nearly One in Three Recent FDA Drug Approvals Followed by Major Safety Action