(photo) Sen. Kelly pushes to lower cost of health care by 30 %

March 2, 2023

For Immediate Release

Sen. Kelly Speaks in Favor of Legislation
Aimed at Lowering the Cost of CT Health Care by Up to 30 %

Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly on Mar. 2 testified before the legislature’s Insurance and Real Estate Committee in support of legislation contained in the Senate Republicans’ “A Better Way to Affordable Health Care” – a comprehensive set of legislative proposals aimed at lowering the cost of health care in Connecticut.

“For middle-class Connecticut families, the cost of health care is anything but affordable,” Sen. Kelly said.  “People are taking it on the chin every day, and family budgets are breaking. This bill implements a state-based reinsurance program to reduce health insurance premiums.  Let’s put our record state surplus to work by guaranteeing assistance in paying healthcare claims that exceed a certain amount.”

When the Affordable Care Act was passed, a temporary federal reinsurance program was created to help keep insurance premiums down. While the federal program has sunset, Connecticut has the ability to act on its own through what is known as a State Innovation Waiver to create its own reinsurance program.

“While I was disappointed to not see reinsurance in the governor’s budget proposal, I feel it is our job as policymakers to help make that budget proposal better,” Sen. Kelly said.  “Getting the waiver to pay the most expensive health insurance claims could lower health insurance by nearly 30%. Imagine being able to essentially lower everyone’s health insurance premiums by $500 per month for the average family of four? That’s real money for real people.  We can do this.”

An analysis commissioned by Access Health CT, the state health insurance exchange, estimated that a reinsurance program would reduce premiums from anywhere between 6% and 29.5%, depending on the investment made by the state. The program would be funded through the state budget, not through a new assessment or tax. While taxing insurers may be popular, those costs simply get passed on to consumers and end up increasing the cost of your insurance. An annual investment of roughly $80 million—less than a half of one percent of the state budget—will leverage tens of millions in federal matching funds and lead to an average premium reduction of more than 25% across all plans.

“The state has used a patchwork of federal COVID-19 relief funds to provide short-term premium relief during the pandemic,” Sen. Kelly said.  “We must sustain this relief. Reinsurance will provide relief for years to come.”

The bill awaits a vote in the committee.