A pair of proposed state bills to salvage aspects of the Affordable Care Act for Connecticut residents differ significantly when it comes to penalizing citizens who forgo health care coverage.
In written testimony that Gov. Dannel Malloy submitted to the General Assembly’s Insurance and Real Estate Committee, which held a March 8 public hearing on legislation he introduced earlier this year, he said Connecticut should continue to provide stability in the marketplace and contain premium costs for consumers.
Introduced by Malloy, House Bill 5039, “An Act Protecting Health Care Fairness and Affordability” would:
- Prohibit cost-sharing for women’s reproductive health care, including birth control;
- Allow state discretion to provide funding to Planned Parenthood should federal Medicaid rules be altered to prohibit the use of Medicaid funding for the organization; and
- Keep residents insured, thereby keeping health care costs down by instituting a shared responsibility fee if an individual does not carry insurance minimum essential health insurance coverage per the Affordable Care Act.
The proposal also seeks to lower health care costs by:
- Amending state statutes to create enhanced protections and notices for consumers when in receipt of “surprise bills” or “balance bills” from physicians and facilities, whether those services were in or out of network. Additionally, in the event of a balance or surprise bill, the provider or facility is required to work directly with the insured’s carrier.
- Implementing a standardized mandate review process by a joint standing committee of the General Assembly to ensure policy makers have all the information necessary to verify that new health care mandates are truly beneficial for the consumer.
Under Malloy’s bill, residents would be fined $500 or 2 percent of their income annually if they fail to comply with the state mandate for the entire year — or 1/12th of that for each month not in compliance.
Legislators on the Insurance and Real Estate Committee have introduced a second bill, which would penalize noncompliant residents 9.66 percent of their income each year, capped at $10,000. Those residents would be allowed to put the 9.66 percent figure into a health savings account managed by the state each month, which they could then withdraw for health care expenses.