The state is exploring what has been a major aim of Connecticut employers for years: How to keep people healthier and make their healthcare more affordable.

The two state initiatives—the State Innovation Model (SIM) and Cost Containment Committee—are focusing on ways to improve the quality and reduce the cost of healthcare.

Healthcare_RankThese regulatory initiatives are critically important, because while they would help reduce the cost of healthcare, there are legislative proposals to increase the cost of health insurance premiums.

The Insurance Committee is currently considering four new health benefit mandates (SB 35, SB 36, SB 37, SB 38) that will mean higher health insurance premiums for smaller employers.

Instead of trying to increase the cost of health insurance, lawmakers should we should focus on these regulatory efforts to find solutions to the overall issues of quality and cost.

SIM is a state program aiming to increase healthcare quality and decrease healthcare costs in Connecticut. It’s now looking at how it may be able to use Value Based Insurance Design (VBID) to accomplish those goals.

VBID is a way to encourage individuals to adopt certain (and better) healthcare behaviors through the design of the health insurance benefit plan.

For example, a VBID plan may provide incentives for the use of high performing doctors, chronic disease management (i.e. diabetes), or adopting healthy lifestyles.

Many of Connecticut’s larger employers already use those strategies in their health insurance plans.

SIM is asking employers, as well as other stakeholders, for feedback on VBID design through an employer workgroup.

When CBIA asked its members what their single greatest concern was, healthcare was the third-most often named issue.
SIM hired a consultant to coordinate that feedback, which so far has been wide ranging and includes the need for employee education and engagement, the involvement of all relevant stakeholders, and recognition of existing VBID plan designs currently used by employers.

Employers’ perspectives will be shared with the larger VBID consortium of stakeholders and discussed at its next meeting.

Cost Containment Study

Last year the legislature called on the Lt. Governor’s Healthcare Cabinet to conduct a Cost Containment Study and look at what other states are doing to control the cost of healthcare.

This committee also hired a consultant which is studying the cost-containment strategies of other states:  Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, Oregon, Washington and Maryland.

Healthcare costs continue to be a major concern of Connecticut employers. When CBIA asked its members what their single greatest concern was, healthcare was the third-most often named issue.

The Cost Containment study has the potential to impact the course of healthcare quality and cost in Connecticut, but needs to hear more from employers and other stakeholders on what new and innovative strategies to adopt.

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