Analysis reveals thousands of Connecticut parents could lose health insurance under budget proposal

March 18, 2015

Up to 10,000 parents in Connecticut could lose health coverage if a proposal to change eligibility requirements for HUSKY A, the state’s Medicaid program, is successful, according to an analysis conducted by health policy experts from UMass Medical School and released by the Connecticut Health Foundation (CT Health) on March 18.

The analysis, highlighted in the report, How Proposed HUSKY Cuts Will Harm Low-Income Families, was conducted by Rachel Gershon, JD, MPH; Katharine London, MS; and Robert W. Seifert, MPA, of the Center for Health Law and Economics, a unit within UMass Medical School’s Commonwealth Medicine division. CT Health commissioned the analysis. The report was covered by WNPR, The New Haven Register, The Connecticut Post and The Hartford Business Journal.

“As a data-driven foundation, CT Health commissioned this analysis because it informs us about the numbers of people effected, and the impact on their already strained household budgets," said Elizabeth Krause, vice president of policy and communications at CT Health. “But, we also never stop thinking about the people behind the numbers. They include child care providers, barbers, and those who are working while going to school to better the lives of their families.”

Connecticut is considering a proposal to reduce eligibility for parents enrolled in HUSKY A that is expected to affect more than 30,000 families. Coverage would be eliminated for parents who have children also enrolled in HUSKY and have family incomes between 138-201 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) (about $28,000-$40,000 for a family of three); and pregnant women with family incomes at 138-263 percent of FPL (about $28,000 - $52,000 for a family of three).

Using research literature and the recent experience of other states, the UMass Medical School analysts estimated the number of persons who would be left uninsured if the proposal is implemented, and discussed effects on access to care for parents, pregnant women, and children. 

The analysis found the following likely consequences of the proposed policy change:

  • Though Access Health CT offers subsidized coverage for these low-income parents, their costs will increase by an average of $1,900/year for less comprehensive coverage (e.g., loss of dental benefits).
  • Because of the high cost of health insurance even with subsidies, 7,000-10,000 parents will likely become uninsured.
  • For pregnant women, reduced access to care could lead to life-long health effects for their children, and higher health care costs down the road.
  • For those parents who do purchase insurance, some will likely delay needed care due to out-of-pocket costs (e.g., copays, deductibles).
  • Child coverage will likely drop. Lower-income children are less likely to have health insurance coverage if their parents are uninsured, even when children remain eligible.

The Connecticut Health Foundation is the state’s largest independent health philanthropy dedicated to improving lives by changing health systems. Since it was established in July 1999, the foundation has supported innovative grant-making, public health policy research, technical assistance and convening to achieve its mission – to improve the health of the people of Connecticut. Over the past 15 years, CT Health has awarded grants totaling $54 million in 45 cities and towns throughout the state.