The General Assembly's Insurance and Real Estate Committee wrapped up its work March 15, reporting out a number of bills to the House and Senate floor and to other committees.

CBIA is pleased the committee supported two positive bills—SB 544 and HB 7042—that introduce new procedures to review health insurance cost increases.

Committee members considered a number of bills that attempt to respond to federal healthcare policy, codifying various parts of the Affordable Care Act into state law.

During the public hearing process, CBIA stressed the importance of undertaking healthcare policy in a comprehensive fashion rather than through piecemeal concepts.

With federal healthcare policy still in flux, CBIA urged the legislature to take a close look at the need to implement new state requirements at this time.

Beyond the matter of timing and the patchwork-like nature of the separate bills, CBIA stressed that the cost impact of these new laws on smaller employers should be studied before being implemented.

CBIA stressed that the cost impact of new laws on small businesses should be studied first.
Smaller employers continue to help pay for their employees’ healthcare, and bills that increase health insurance costs have a negative bottom line impact.

Time Needed to Build Value Based Design

CBIA has been a supportive partner in the state’s voluntary effort to share Value Based Insurance Design with Connecticut’s large and small employers.

VBID is a concept that can bring innovative solutions to improve healthcare cost and quality, and we have worked with the State Innovation Model’s VBID initiative.

We have done so with the understanding that this would not be mandated, allowing employers to use it as they see fit.

SB 925, however, scraps the voluntary nature of this effort by mandating VBID in the private sector.

CBIA opposed what we believe is an ill-advised move to abandon what has been a positive, voluntary approach.

Ours were not the only concerns with SB 925, which now faces significant hurdles moving forward because it was subject to a split vote by the committee—meaning Senate committee members voted separately on the bill from those in the House.

Senate committee members failed to pass the bill, while House members approved it.

This procedural move means the bill is off the Senate calendar.

That’s good news from CBIA’s perspective but we will continue to monitor this issue, urging the legislature to review the SIM team’s work prior to placing another mandate on smaller employers.