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May 2010 St@teside

Connecticut Lawmakers Support Health Insurance Reform


During the Connecticut 2010 legislative session, a handful of important measures were passed that are intended to improve access to health insurance.  Some of those key initiatives—all signed by Governor M. Jodi Rell—include the following:

H.B. 5002 is designed to make it easier for employers to find and secure affordable insurance for their employees. The bill establishes a Connecticut Clearinghouse (effective July 1, 2010) to provide health insurance information to individuals and employers with fewer than 50 employees. It also allows a small employer to receive from insurers, upon request, health insurance premium quotes that include coverage for employees working at least 20 hours per week.

H.B. 5219 extends employer-sponsored health coverage under the state’s “mini COBRA” plan (state COBRA expansion programs for employees in firms with fewer than 20 workers) from 18 to 30 months after they are laid off or following other certain qualifying events.

H.B. 5235 requires that insurers and other entities mail an explanation to Connecticut consumers if they deny coverage for a procedure because it is not medically necessary or is not a covered benefit. The mailing must include a notice with the contact information of the Insurance Department and the Office of the Healthcare Advocate (OHA). The OHA is tasked with helping consumers challenge these denials.

H.B. 5303 makes it mandatory for insurance companies to submit annual report denial data in order to be posted on the Insurance Department’s Web site and included in the department’s annual Consumer Report Card. Employers and consumers will be able to use this data to compare the quality of different plans.