State lawmakers are considering a number of bills that will drive up healthcare costs with hidden taxes, fees, and government mandates.
New Hidden Taxes & Fees
SB 955 will hike health insurance costs for smaller employers, individuals and families through a state budget maneuver. The bill shifts a line item program out of the state budget (funded by all taxpayers) into an Insurance Fund that’s paid for only by health insurers.
That will increase costs because health insurers will pass the higher costs onto consumers in the form of higher premiums.
This $8.8 million cost-shift will directly hit smaller employers and individuals who buy fully insured health insurance, not larger employers that can afford to self-insure and are exempted from state law.
But that’s not all, because that same Insurance Fund is also paying another legislature-mandated, $3.2 million cost-shift lawmakers approved last year and are now aiming to extend.
This hit is for the State Innovation Model (SIM), which the federal government is already subsidizing to the tune of $45 million.
CBIA supports the SIM but not how the state is paying for it. The SIM funding should be a General Fund expenditure not an assessment that drives up the cost of healthcare.
The Insurance Committee also approved a number of new health benefit mandates (treatments, services and procedures that must be included in your health plan).
New health benefit mandates impact you in two ways:
- Costs You More: The more health benefit mandates, the higher your health insurance premiums. That’s because if insurers are required to cover more and more services, they will charge more and more to do it.
- Costs the State More: If a health benefit mandate is deemed “new” by the federal Department of Health and Human Services, then it will also impact the state budget. Under the Affordable Care Act, the state has to pay for any new benefit for individuals receiving a subsidy through the state’s health insurance exchange. That’s because the feds have said Connecticut’s benefits package is set and no further changes can be made until next year.
Hospitals & Healthcare Roundtable
The Public Health and Insurance committees also approved a number of bills that are an outgrowth of the Roundtable on Hospitals and Healthcare.
These bills are being championed by Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney (D-New Haven) and Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven), and are bipartisan efforts to address healthcare policy issues.
CBIA will continue to closely analyze these bills, especially on how new policy initiatives may impact healthcare costs.
For example, SB 815 creates a Health Care Commission and as it is currently drafted it allows that Commission to assess insurers and providers to pay for its work.