Best to Wait for Results of State Healthcare Initiatives
With promising efforts now underway by the state to address the high cost of healthcare in Connecticut, lawmakers should see how they develop before considering any legislative proposals to change the system or raise costs.
One of the positive initiatives is looking at the strategies and best practices of other states—what they are doing successfully to contain healthcare costs.
The legislature last year charged the Lt. Governor’s Healthcare Cabinet with the task, and they are due to report back to the legislature by December 1, 2016.
Another effort, the State Innovation Model, is moving forward with its work to address quality and cost of healthcare in the state.
For example, SIM is working now on Value Based Insurance Design and is working with a number of stakeholders, including employers, to establish best practices.
But at the same time, legislators are considering numerous proposals that would increase the cost of health insurance in Connecticut.
Connecticut employers are very concerned about the cost and quality of healthcare because not only do employers help pay for their employees health insurance but a healthy workforce is key to success.
Legislative proposals will make it harder for employers to provide their employees with good benefits.
HB 5517 attempts to cap insurance payments for prescription drugs, but all that means is that those costs will be shifted somewhere else—likely creating higher payments for other services and/or higher insurance premiums.
Instead of trying this type of band-aid, cost-shifting approach, Connecticut should rely on the state’s regulatory initiatives like SIM and the cost-containment study to find more viable solutions.
Small Business Impact
Other ways that healthcare costs will rise are contained in proposals for new health benefit mandates, such as in SB 35, SB 36, SB 37, SB 38, SB 282, SB 158, HB 5233, HB 5517, and HB 5230 .
What’s often misunderstood is that these new mandated requirements for health insurance coverage, passed by the legislature, directly impact small businesses.
That’s because mandates only apply to companies that fully insure, and typically, smaller employers can’t afford to self-insure.
Lawmakers should help make sure that health insurance is affordable for all, especially for Connecticut’s small businesses and their employees.
Again, instead of looking at more mandates, the state initiatives should be allowed to complete their work to gain a better understanding of how to address quality and cost issues in our state.
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