Despite Connecticut's fiscal problems—and even with policymakers searching for ways to cut spending—the House passed a very expensive mandate that will not only increase the state budget but also make it more expensive to buy health insurance.

HB 5233 is a new health benefit mandate that’s projected to cost the state more than $9 million in 2017, and another $10 million in 2018.

In addition to the cost to the state, this bill will also impact health insurance premiums of smaller employers and certain municipalities.

That’s because HB 5233 would be considered a new benefit beyond what the state identified to be covered when it established its Essential Health Benefits package under Obamacare.

The state has to pick up the tab for new benefits for certain individuals using the state exchange, in addition to the cost of adding this service to the state employee plan.

Smaller employers and certain municipalities will see a hike to their premiums because the more benefits the state requires the more it costs to buy the very rich plans.

What’s more, despite the fiscal crisis facing Connecticut--and the state's struggle to pay for existing services--this mandate adds to the list of services the state cannot afford.

Considering the deficit is only expected to grow, adding more services (and very costly ones at that) is moving in the wrong direction.

Connecticut already ranks in the top states nationally with the most number of health benefit mandates.
Connecticut already ranks in the top states nationally with the most number of health benefit mandates.

And, this proposal likely puts Connecticut in the position of being the first in the nation—and an outlier—for adopting mandates beyond the EHB.

Connecticut faces some of the highest healthcare costs in the country--this bill adds to that existing problem.

An amendment recently filed by the co-chairs of the Connecticut legislature's Insurance Committee to HB 5260 creates the same new mandate problem on another bill.

These bills will cost the state a lot of money at a time when the state is struggling to pay for its existing services.

It's important to remember that health benefit mandates impact smaller employers because those businesses typically cannot afford to self-insure and therefore are subject to the state’s mandates.

More mandates are simply unaffordable for the state and smaller employers.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Jennifer Herz (860.970.4404) | @CBIAjherz