Proposals at Odds with State Efforts to Control Health Costs
Despite high-profile state initiatives to reduce healthcare costs, the legislature’s Insurance Committee keeps pushing in the opposite direction—with bills that will drive up those costs.
The committee is now considering six more health benefit mandates.
Every new mandate passed by the legislature directly results in an increased premium rate in fully-insured health plans to pay for the new service or procedure required.
And that hike lopsidedly hits Connecticut’s small businesses because they generally have no financial choice but to buy fully-insured plans.
Meanwhile, the state is undertaking two regulatory efforts designed to address Connecticut’s cost problem as well as quality of healthcare.
The legislature last year gave the Lt. Governor’s Healthcare Cabinet the assignment of studying the best practices of other states—what are they doing to hold back costs and increase quality?
Another state effort—the State Innovation Model is now looking at value-based insurance design with an eye also to increasing quality and decreasing costs.
At the least, the legislature should hold off on passing even more health benefit mandates until these groups make their recommendations.
That hike lopsidedly hits Connecticut’s small businesses because they generally have no financial choice but to buy fully-insured plans.
A recent nationwide survey of small businesses showed that rising healthcare costs have forced many to reduce employee benefits, hold off on hiring new employees, hold back on wage increases, and sometimes even reduce their workforces.
Small employers and their employees are stressed-out about the cost of health insurance yet instead of taking action to reduce cost we are fighting against bills that will worsen the situation.
Many of the new mandates are good services but we face an economic reality. Each new service costs money and employers and the state alike do not have unlimited budgets.
Health insurance must be affordable in order for employers and their employees to be able to buy it.
This is not the time for more mandates.
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