When Heather Greene’s 8-year-old daughter Hope developed a rash earlier this month she took her to a pediatrician, but the pediatrician was unable to diagnose the rash and recommended a dermatologist. Getting an appointment with a dermatologist is not easy when your daughter is covered by the state’s HUSKY insurance program, Greene said.
After several phone calls, Greene said she turned to legal aid and the Department of Social Services in search of an out-of-network dermatologist. Finally on April 17, after more than two weeks of itching and agony, Hope was able to see a dermatologist.
Greene said while she was able to resolve the problem this time she wonders what will happen when the Department of Social Services awards the five-year, $3.5 billion HUSKY contract to possibly three managed care organizations, two of which have no provider networks in the state.
Majority Leader Chris Donovan, D-Meriden, said Wednesday he understands parents concerns that they will fall through the cracks when the new bids are awarded. All three of the parents from CT Parent Power who spoke Wednesday on the steps of the state Capitol said they want the legislature to pass legislation that delays more changes to the HUSKY program.
Rep. Peter Villano, D-Hamden, said he doesn’t know how the insurance companies, who bid on the new contract, will be able to set up provider networks for more than 330,000 individuals in eight weeks. He said it’s also unfair to ask the families to go through another transition.
On April 1, 112,000 HUSKY families were asked to switch their insurance because Gov. M. Jodi Rell fired two of the four managed care organizations for not complying with the Freedom of Information Act. Parents said Wednesday that 40 percent of HUSKY enrollees failed to return a notice to change plans and were involuntarily re-assigned, possibly to a plan that did not include their doctor.
Department of Social Services spokesman David Dearborn said in a telephone interview Wednesday night that if HUSKY is delayed, then Rell’s Charter Oak Health Plan for uninsured adults will also be delayed.
Rell has said she would veto any bill that delays implementation of her Charter Oak Health Plan.
Dearborn said DSS is prepared to help HUSKY clients transition to the new HUSKY managed care organizations and has asked Anthem, which did not bid on the new five-year client to remain in an administrative capacity to help the state out through the transition. Anthem currently serves the largest number of HUSKY patients, but has refused to bid on the new contract because it does not want to comply with FOIA.
Dearborn said all of the bidders are working to set up their provider networks in the state even though the contract has not yet been awarded.
Click here to read DSS Commissioner Michael Starkowski’s April 24 letter to Rell on the status of the bidding process and scheduled July 1 transition.