State Healthcare Advocate Kevin Lembo said Wednesday his office is seriously considering suing Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s administration if it moves forward with a proposal to transition more than 250,000 children and families into insurance plans that lack the adequate number of doctors and hospitals.
Rell’s administration through the Department of Social Services has planned for months to send out letters this Friday to children and families insured under the state’s HUSKY insurance plan. However, late Wednesday night it was unclear if DSS would be moving forward with its plan as advocates like Lembo continue to consider a lawsuit.
New Haven Legal Aid Attorney Sheldon Toubman said in this letter to Rell earlier this week that under federal Medicaid laws the state must provide a network of doctors at least as robust as it already offers under its current contract with Anthem.
Based on the latest reports Anthem had 2,249 primary are physicians and 5, 479 specialists in its network, as well as 30 hospitals.
For months, Aetna Better Health and AmeriChoice, two of the three new HUSKY HMO’s have struggled to build an adequate network of doctors.
Toubman wrote in his letter that AmeriChoice only has 740 primary care physicians, 713 specialists, and five hospitals. Aetna has 763 primary care physicians, 1,765 specialists, and 12 hospitals.
Lembo may be joined in his effort to sue Rell’s administration by State Child Advocate Jeanne Milstein and Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who this letter to Rell Wednesday.
“We understand for published reports and from others in the legal community that the proposed transfer may very well violate the rights of HUSKY participants under federal law,” the two wrote.
State Democratic lawmakers who have been calling on Rell’s administration to slow down the transfer for months will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. Thursday to address the matter.