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Chion Wolf / WNPR

Despite long odds in a session that lasts only three months, lawmakers on Thursday rolled out the newest version of their “public option” bill, saying they were not discouraged by the limited timeframe and lack of support from key Republicans and the governor.

The latest iteration of the proposal to expand government-subsidized health insurance would allow businesses with 50 or fewer employees, nonprofits of any size and labor unions to join the state-operated Connecticut Partnership plan, which already is available to municipalities.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

It was just a year ago that Eli Terris of Hamden was diagnosed at 30 years old with Type 1 diabetes, a lifelong chronic disease that requires a medication called insulin.

And the hardest part for him? Having to navigate health insurance and the costs for his disease treatment. 

Courtesy of Access Health CT

Thousands of people will get health insurance coverage this year from plans they chose through Access Health CT, the state’s Affordable Care Act health insurance marketplace. But state officials worry about changes to federal law that may hinder continuing participation in health insurance programs. 

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Samantha Merwin hoped to put money away in a college fund for her 13-year-old son, Logan.

But instead, any savings have gone into a health account that’s intended for Logan to use in his young adult years as he manages Type 1 diabetes, a lifelong chronic disease. 

Alexa Kasdan had a cold and a sore throat.

The 40-year-old public policy consultant from Brooklyn, N.Y., didn't want her upcoming vacation trip ruined by strep throat. So after it had lingered for more than a week, she decided to get it checked out.

Kasdan visited her primary care physician, Roya Fathollahi, at Manhattan Specialty Care, just off Park Avenue South and not far from tony Gramercy Park.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Deborah Bigelow walked into the Lyceum Conference Center in Hartford on a recent Thursday night prepared with a stack of folders and documents.

She hoped that by the time she left the Access Health Connecticut enrollment fair after speaking with a specialist, her health insurance plan for 2020 would be set, because not having coverage wasn’t an option.

26 Connecticut Hospitals Penalized By Medicare For High Readmission Rates

Oct 9, 2019
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services penalized Bridgeport Hospital 2.66 percent, the highest penalty among Conn. hospitals.
Bridgeport Hospital

Most Connecticut hospitals will lose a percentage of their Medicare reimbursement payments over the next year as penalties for having high rates of readmitted patients, according to new data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

SLAWOMIR FAJER / ISTOCK / THINKSTOCK

Open enrollment for health insurance plans on Access Health CT — the state’s Affordable Care Act exchange — begins in November, but before that happens, the state Insurance Department needs to approve new premium prices.

Anthem and ConnectiCare are both seeking increases, and insurance representatives answered to state officials at a public information hearing Wednesday on the reasons why.

Pexels / Creative Commons

From surprise bills to sky-high deductibles, the American health care system is not working perfectly for many. But what’s the fix?

This hour: Democratic presidential candidates have a wide variety of ideas to reform how Americans are insured, from a “public option” to “Medicare for All”. But what do these terms mean? We break it down.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Senator Richard Blumenthal is warning consumers about a proposal from the federal government that could force them to pay more for potentially inadequate repairs if they're involved in a car accident.

SCANTAUR / Istock/Thinkstock

Plaintiffs in a nationwide class-action lawsuit are challenging how Medicare pays out for health coverage of hospitalizations and related rehabilitative services.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Kristen Whitney Daniels was 15 years old when she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes — a lifelong disease.

“As if I wasn’t awkward enough as a sophomore in high school, I also acquired this chronic illness that completely upended my life,” she said.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Democratic legislators and government officials stood with a small crowd of supporters at the Legislative Office Building in March to announce that it was time that Connecticut created a public option health insurance program. 

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Democratic lawmakers are pushing a new public option health care proposal, angering Republican colleagues so close to the end of the legislative session.

Supporters are calling the new plan Connecticut Option — it’ll be a program overseen by the state and offered through insurance companies or a network created by the state.

The part of the street where Ridge Road meets Lexington Avenue in Danbury was closed after a telephone pole snapped and took down power lines.
Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

One year after tornadoes ripped through Connecticut, many residents are still struggling with post-storm cleanup. In response, federal lawmakers announced Monday that they’re reintroducing what they call the DEBRIS Act (Diversifying Emergency Benchmarks for the Recovery of Individuals after Storms). 

Stakeholders Square Off Over Proposed Public Option For Health Coverage

May 9, 2019
A sign at the Health Care Action Day at the state Capitol on May 1.
Christopher Hoffman / C-HIT.org

While tolls, bonding and the budget have dominated this legislative session, a battle has been quietly brewing over the creation of a state-administered health insurance public option for small businesses.

Pharmacy Benefit Managers Scrutinized For Role In Drug Price Increases

Apr 24, 2019
Marion Bradley fills a prescription for one of her customers. She is the lead pharmacist and co-owner of Beacon Falls Pharmacy.
Carl Jordan Castro / C-HIT.org

Pharmacy benefit managers – the middlemen who negotiate drug purchases for insurers and large buyers – are coming under growing scrutiny and criticism both in Connecticut and nationwide for their role in the sharp rise of prescription drugs.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

State lawmakers revealed details Thursday on how Connecticut could create and run its own public option health care plan, which would compete with private insurers.

Harriet Jones / Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut’s insurance industry has been taking stock of its year, and a new report says the state should still pride itself on being the insurance capital of the world.

The federal judge in Texas who ruled the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional earlier this month said that the law can remain in effect while under appeal.

U.S. District Court Judge Reed O'Connor wrote in his ruling filed on Sunday that "many everyday Americans would otherwise face great uncertainty during the pendency of appeal."

Former Access Health CEO, State Contractor Pay To Settle Ethics Violation

Dec 26, 2018
Former Access Health CEO James Wadleigh.
Kyle Constable / CTMirror.org

James Wadleigh, the former CEO of Connecticut’s health insurance exchange, Access Health CT, has paid a $5,000 civil fine for accepting employment with a state contractor within one year of leaving his post, the Office of State Ethics said in a settlement released Wednesday.

Editor's note: This story was updated with enrollment figures made available on Dec. 19.

About 8.5 million people enrolled in health plans for 2019 through the federal HealthCare.gov website by the Dec. 15 deadline.

That's about 367,000 fewer people than signed up during the 6 week open enrollment season last year, a decline of about 4 percent, according to new numbers from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Gary Ombler / Thinkstock

Open enrollment season is well underway, and Connecticut’s insurance commissioner is warning consumers against junk health plans - after herself being targeted for a scam. 

When Kathy Klute-Nelson heads out on a neighborhood walk, she often takes her two dogs — Kona, a boxer, and Max, a small white dog of questionable pedigree who barrels out the front door with barks of enthusiasm.

The 64-year-old resident of Costa Mesa, Calif., says she was never one to engage in regular exercise — especially after a long day of work. But about three years ago, her employer, the Auto Club of Southern California, made her and her colleagues an offer she couldn't refuse: Wear a Fitbit, walk every day and get up to $300 off your yearly health insurance premiums.

Jim Wadleigh, former CEO of Access Health CT.
Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

The former CEO of the state’s health care exchange has resigned from his new private sector job, just weeks after taking it. Jim Wadleigh now says his move may have contravened state ethics laws.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Some more good news for Connecticut homeowners who are struggling with crumbling foundations -- many will now be able to deduct the cost of repairs from their federal taxes over the next two decades. 

Mary Anne Williams

Connecticut homeowners who have crumbling foundations will soon be able to apply for reimbursement through a new state-sponsored fund. The specialty insurance company set up to process claims launched a website Monday that gives guidelines on who will be eligible, what documentation they will need, and what will be covered. 

Analysts are estimating that Hurricane Michael has caused billions of dollars of damage and will create a substantial loss for insurers, but the industry is expected to cope — once again avoiding the kind of meltdown that Florida saw in the 1990s, after Hurricane Andrew.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

CVS has cleared the biggest hurdle in its plan to acquire Hartford-based health insurer Aetna. The deal was given the green light Wednesday by federal anti-trust regulators.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

When CVS agreed to acquire Aetna, they halted a plan to move the Hartford-based company’s headquarters to New York City. Connecticut has been breathing a sigh of relief that one of the capital’s largest employers isn’t ditching the state.

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