Got a question about Connecticut’s new healthcare marketplace? The team at Access Health CT will be hosting a series of “Healthy Chats” and the first one is taking place tonight in Meriden.
Access Health CEO Kevin Counihan encouraged residents to ask any question they want. He said the staff there will do the best they can to answer and if they can’t they will follow up with individuals after the meeting.
In 2012, when the Access Health CT hosted similar conversations, many of the questions had yet to be answered. At that time, the only thing the state knew was that the mandate to purchase insurance had been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Counihan anticipates that at tonight’s meeting there will be questions about provider waiting times, issues around quality, and cost.
This will be the first conversation since the Insurance Department approved the rates for the four insurance carriers participating in both the individual and small group exchange. So it’s likely that many more questions will be answered with more specificity than in the past.
For instance, they can now figure out what an individual participating in one of the plans would pay on a monthly basis after applying the federal subsidy. The tables necessary to do the calculation are located here.
The only question left unanswered with any specificity at the moment is what the network of providers will look like for any given plan.
Under the Affordable Care Act, “it had to be the network in their most popular plans,” Counihan said. “So that typically means we’re going to have very broad networks.”
The direction of the discussion tonight will depend on the questions asked by the audience, but Counihan is anticipating that there may be a discussion of the plan designs, the bronze, silver and gold tiers, and the carriers.
“Our experience with this stuff is people are just more interested in asking their own personal question,” Counihan said.
But learning all the details about the complicated new law can’t be done in one meeting or by visiting a website.
“It’s going to be constant engagement,” Counihan said. “After Labor Day we’re going to be somewhere every night leading up to Oct. 1 just to make people aware of the law.”
Enrollment in the exchange begins Oct. 1 and the plans go into effect on Jan. 1. 2014. Everyone will have an opportunity to purchase insurance through the exchange, including the estimated 344,000 Connecticut residents who are uninsured.
Tonight’s chat will be held at the Meriden Public Library, 105 Miller St. The conversation will begin at 6 p.m. There are four more conversations scheduled to take place in Waterbury on Aug. 20, New Britain on Aug. 22, Bridgeport on Sept. 4, and Hartford on Sept. 7. For more information about where each meeting will occur visit their website: http://www.accesshealthct.com/news-events/events/