Gov. M. Jodi Rell began to solidify her support for universal health care Wednesday when she announced her plan to insure some of the state’s uninsured adult population.“For under $250 a month, we could address the needs of the working uninsured with a basic health insurance package that would include a full prescription package, laboratory services and pre- and post-natal care,” Rell said. Rell’s spokesman Chris Cooper said Wednesday that the Department of Social Services asked a number of managed care organizations if they would be able to develop a plan with certain requirements. The requirements included the following: a $250 per month or less premium, no income limits, no deductible, no maximum annual benefits, and low co-payments for both prescription drugs and preventative care.
“The key to keeping the premiums low is keeping the number of enrollees as high as possible and that is why there are no income requirements,” Rell said. “College students, recent graduates, first-time employees, and part-time employees would all be eligible.“Cooper said there will be no deductible, just the co-payments which were undefined Wednesday except for generic prescription drug co-pay between $10 and $15. Sounds good, however, in order to qualify you have to be uninsured for six-months. Cooper said the plan is so attractive people may consider switching over from private insurance plans because it may cost less than they’re currently paying. He said 90 to 92 percent of residents in the state have insurance and this plan sets out to target the 8 percent that are uninsured. In addition to offering health insurance to adults the state will step up its effort to enroll children in, HUSKY, the health insurance program for kids.The state’s HUSKY plan serves children and teenagers based on a sliding fee scale. Over 221,000 children are currently enrolled. Coverage is also available for uninsured newborns, but of the 109,025 births in state hospitals over the past 30 months, 2,776 were identified as having no insurance coverage, even though they were eligible, Rell said. Rell said she plans on asking the legislature not to change enrollment guidelines for the program for at least two years. In the past HUSKY benefits and coverage have fluctuated with the state budget. A Connecticut Voices for Children report found it this was one of the major reasons for the decline in HUSKY enrollment. “There has been too much instability with the adoption of adverse changes to the program and their subsequent repeal,” Rell said.In order to implement the insurance program for adults Rell does not need the legislature’s approval, Cooper said.