Friday, March 30, 2012

April CT Health Reform Dashboard -- 10.8% progress to date

This month again CT is making progress toward health reform. This month we are 10.8% of the way toward health reform. Unfortunately we are only up from 10.7% last month. At this rate, it will take 48 years to fully implement reform. Track CT’s progress on the CT Health Reform Dashboard at

Monday, March 26, 2012

Exchange advisory committees begin work

Last week the four CT Health Insurance Exchange advisory committees held their first meeting jointly. The meeting included a very good presentation on the basics of the exchange and a list of the decision points for each committee. The next advisory committee meetings, all public and all tentatively in Room 310 of the Capitol, will be:

Consumer Experience and Outreach
April 10th  9 to 11am

Brokers, Agents and Navigators
April 10th  12:30 to 2:30pm

Health Plan Benefits and Qualifications
April 11th   9 to 11am

Small Business Health Plan Options Program (SHOP)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Experience to inform health insurance exchange outreach

CT has a long and varied history of outreach programs; some worked very well and some were less successful. There is a great deal of experience available to the CT Health Insurance Exchange and their consultants to design a robust program that meets the needs of individuals and small businesses likely to enroll. As individuals will be required under federal law to purchase coverage, and 140,000 state residents will have to buy it on the exchange to access subsidies, it is vital that we learn from experience and not repeat mistakes. We’ve collected some of that experience in a new brief. We offer this experience to the Exchange to help ensure a viable, trusted Exchange is developed that makes serving its customers their first priority.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Insurance Exchange meeting allows limited public comment

Partially responding to widespread calls to respect consumer voices, the CT Health Insurance Exchange Board allowed 12 minutes of public comment at the beginning of today’s meeting. Speakers were limited to two minutes each – there was only time for five. They heard from a struggling consumer, a small business owner, advocates and a representative of the faith community that, while we are grateful for this effort, the process needs to be far more open. Several Board members seemed moved by the testimony and understood that they are missing important perspectives critical if the exchange is going to work. The Board is currently hiring senior staff, developing a budget, beginning to develop a mission statement and guiding principles, and choosing an administrator for the exchange, all without voting consumer input. Mintz and Hoke, the advertising agency hired for consumer input, was criticized by speakers and Board members for soliciting limited input and not reaching out to CT’s well-organized consumer advocacy networks. Their scope is limited to message-testing for the eventual exchange products, not listening to customers about how those products should be designed to meet the demands of the market. They emphasized mass media, which has not historically been successful in outreach in CT, social media and texting. While texting and social media are commonly used between young invincibles in personal communications, it is unclear whether they are effective vehicles to sell health insurance. They are still researching other states’ consumer research efforts and populations eligible for the exchange; unfortunately, it is unclear if there is time for a learning curve. The speaker helping the Board with governance put consumers at the end of the chain of stakeholders (never mentioned small businesses) and equated consumers with providers and health plans in importance. It was clear that Board members have not seen consulting contracts, RFPs or other solicitations before they are finalized. The administrative RFP will be “fast tracked” concerning many consumers and small businesses.  Mike Devine, the only small business owner on the Board, asked whether KPMG, hired for business operations, had investigated overlap with other agencies in CT, and other states. There is likely a great deal of overlap with other states, particularly the New England collaborative, and federal and very well-resourced privately funded programs that are developing innovative enrollment, operations and outreach programs. After an hour and a half of public meeting, the Board went into secret executive session for an hour and twenty minutes. After which they reconvened for less than a minute to adjourn, without voting or reporting on what was discussed in executive session.
Ellen Andrews

Thursday, March 8, 2012

CT gets a C for health reform

In a new survey, Connecticut health care thought leaders give our state a C on health reform. The state received no A’s. Connecticut received a slightly better grade, C+, for effort. Connecticut’s Medicaid efforts are a bright spot, earning a B. The worst grade was for Engaging Consumers in Policymaking, averaging a D rating. A significant number of responders answered Don’t Know on one or more issue areas, echoing calls for better communication and coordination in health policymaking. Asked for suggestions to improve Connecticut’s progress toward reform, several themes emerged including engaging consumers in policymaking, limiting the influence of special interests, expanding the health care workforce, and improving policy coordination, focus and leadership. Click here for more detail on the survey. The survey is part of the CT Health Reform Dashboard, tracking our state’s progress toward health reform.

Monday, March 5, 2012

CT Health Reform Dashboard -- 10.7% progress to date

The good news is that CT is making progress. This month we are 10.7% of the way toward health reform. The bad news is that we are up from 10.4% last month. Track CT’s progress on the CT Health Reform Dashboard at