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Connecticut Health Policy Project
  Improving Connecticut's Health Through Information

Governor Rowland's Small Employer Health Insurance Subsidy Program: A premium assistance program proposal for Connecticut

What is the Governor's proposal?

The proposal would subsidize health insurance costs for low-income individuals and families who have access to coverage through their employers. Connecticut workers living in families with incomes below 185% of the federal poverty level ($27,787 for a family of three) would be eligible to receive up to $60 per person each month for an individual or $100 per person each month for a family toward their premiums. Enrollment would be capped at between 3000 and 5000 enrollees. The state would contract with one or more small business pools, such as CBIA's Health Connections, or MEHIP, a state-sponsored pool associated with the state employee health plan. Employers must obtain health coverage for their employees through one of the state-approved pools and cannot reduce their contribution to employee coverage. The cost of the program would be capped at $3.6 million in consumer subsidies and $400,000 for program administration, for a total of $4 million per year. For more on other states' experience with premium assistance programs, see Premium Assistance Programs: What Are They and Could They Help Connecticut Families without Health Insurance?, CT Health Policy Project, revised Jan. 2002.

To pay for the proposal, the Governor has proposed $5.6 million in cuts and cost increases to over 10,000 low-income HUSKY parents who became eligible for coverage just over a year ago. Parents of children in the HUSKY program with incomes between 100% and 150% of the federal poverty level ($15,020 to $22,530 per year) would be shifted to the reduced HUSKY Part B benefit package and would pay $5 copays for doctor visits, $3 to $6 copays for prescriptions, and premiums of $30 per parent per month.

The state plans to apply to the federal government for waiver authority to both develop the premium assistance program and to implement the cuts and costs on HUSKY parents. Under a HIFA waiver, the federal government would pay 65% of the public costs of the program ($2.6 million) with the state paying 35% ($1.4 million).

What are the potential benefits to Connecticut's uninsured?

What are the potential drawbacks?


CT Health Policy Project February 21, 2002

For more details on the Governor's proposal, go to HB - 5023, An Act Concerning Implementing the Governor's Budget Regarding the Department of Social Services, Sections 4 and 5, and Governor Rowland's FY 2002-2003 Midterm Budget Adjustments.

1 Report on Connecticut's Insured and Uninsured, OHCA, April 1998.