While Democrats championed increasing income limits for the state administered kids health insurance program, Gov. M. Jodi Rell was successful in getting $14 million in the state budget to implement her Charter Oak Health Plan for uninsured adults.
“This is an historic first for Connecticut because, currently, thousands of adults currently without access to affordable group-rate insurance will have an affordable health coverage product,” David Dearborn, spokesman for the Department of Social Services, said. “The Charter Oak Health Plan will fill the gap in a cost-effective way through a private-public approach to the problem.”
The legislature approved $2 million for start-up costs in fiscal year 2008 and $11 million in fiscal year 2009 for premium assistance and administration of the program.
Dearborn said the state will begin to offer the insurance program July 1, 2008. Premium assistance will be offered to adults ages 19 to 65 with incomes up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level. He said those who make more than 300 percent of the federal poverty level will have an opportunity to buy into one of the group plans through the state’s partnership with private insurance companies.
For instance, adults whose employers don’t offer a group insurance plan, can buy into one of the private plans offered by the state through this program. He said Rell aimed at keeping the premiums at $250 per month, but the state has not gone out to bid for these plans and at the moment is uncertain about the exact monthly premium it will be able to offer.
He said he is certain that no one who applies for the insurance will be turned down for a preexisting condition. He also said they may include a financial hardship provision for people who are rapidly depleting their savings through their current insurer.
Department of Social Services Commissioner Michael Starkowski will convene a planning team to develop a request for proposals. The insurance industry will compete with each other to offer the state its best premium rate for the program through the request for proposals.