Christine Stuart photo

Majority Leader Chris Donovan, D-Meriden, said Wednesday morning that the first bill the House will debate today is one he’s championed for the past two years. The bill, known as The Connecticut Health Care Partnership, will allow municipal employees, nonprofits, and small businesses to buy into the state employees health insurance plan.

Donovan said this will save the municipalities, nonprofits, and small businesses money on health insurance because the risk is spread over more than 100,000 individuals already in the state employee insurance pool. Asked about opposition to the bill, Donovan sidestepped the question saying that he’s heard from people around the state that “it seems like a no-brainer,” and, “Why haven’t we done this before?”

Donovan neglected to mention a letter written earlier this week by Office of Policy and Management Secretary Robert Genuario, which states that at least two of the three insurers participating in the state employee health insurance program would have to re-rate their bids immediately if the bill is passed. Genuario also said that “additional resources would have to be budgeted if the bill passes.”

“Anthem believes that if this legislation passes, the underlying assumptions used to develop the pricing of the State health insurance plans during the most recent RFP process would be negatively impacted,” Anthem’s President David Fusco said in an April 17 letter to the state.

“Furthermore, while this bill has been touted as saving significant dollars for municipalities, our research indicates that is not the case,” Genuario wrote in his April 21 letter to legislative leadership. “Thus, if passage of the bill will cost the state money and there is little or no savings for municipalities, the bill should not be acted upon.” He said that if the bill passes “additional resources would have to be budgeted.”

Meanwhile, the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities said Wednesday that it will be supporting Donovan’s bill because the language was changed to make it strictly voluntary for cities and towns to join.

CCM Executive Director James Finley said municipalities and each union within the municipality will have the ability to determine their best option—the state employee’s pool or State Comptroller Nancy Wyman’s Enhanced Municipal Employees Health Insurance Plan, which allows municipal employees from across the state to join one insurance pool.

Donovan said the Connecticut Health Partnership will save taxpayers money because the cost of health insurance for municipal employees will decrease and help local officials balance their budgets without having to rely on property tax increases or service cuts.