The state has announced a multi-agency effort to help 18,000 parents and caretaker relatives find new health insurance plans when they lose Medicaid eligibility in August.
Access Health CT, the state’s health insurance exchange, is partnering with the state Department of Social Services, the Office of the Healthcare Advocate and the Office of Policy and Management to assist those who will no longer qualify for Medicaid owing to a change in income eligibility.
As part of state budget cuts last year, the income eligibility cap was reduced from $48,843 for a parent in a family of four to $37,665, which applied to nearly 19,000 parents. Technically, the change was made by lowering the income limit for Medicaid eligibility from 201 percent of the poverty level to 155 percent.
For about 18,000 of those parents, loss of eligibility was deferred until Aug. 1 this year because they had earned income from paid employment and under federal rules were able to keep their coverage for a year. Those who have only unearned income, such as Social Security and unemployment, lost their coverage last September.
Access Health CEO Jim Wadleigh said in a press release that outreach to affected recepients will begin June 2 and continue throughout the summer by telephone, mail and in enrollment fairs.
Seven cities — Hartford, Waterbury, Danbury, Stamford, Bridgeport, New Haven and Norwich — have been identified as having the highest number of individuals affected by the change.
The eligibility change will save the state $87 million, according to the press release.
“Residents transitioning from Medicaid may be eligible for other Medicaid programs or they may qualify for federal subsidies on the state’s health insurance exchange,” said Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, chair of the Access Health CT board, in the release. “Our efforts will center around connecting them to the options so they choose the healthcare coverage that best meets their needs.”
“At 155 percent of the federal poverty level for parents and caretaker relatives, Medicaid eligibility in Connecticut is easier to reach than in the rest of the nation, which sets a 138 percent threshold. But this is a change for many HUSKY A caretakers, so we want to assist them in finding and enrolling in new plans,” Wyman said.