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Health Plan Raises Premiums For Lowest-Income Participants


May 21, 2010

The state-managed Charter Oak Health Plan will increase premiums for the second time this year on June 1 as part of Connecticut's effort to reduce its deficit.

Charter Oak is managed by the state Department of Social Services, which increased premiums in response to "higher-than-anticipated medical costs." The program started easing its customers into price increases with a rate hike on Feb. 1.

The lowest-income customers in the plan will pay 72 percent more in premiums next month than they did in January. Charter Oak had 6,751 people in the program's lowest-income bracket who were paying $75 before a Feb. 1 increase to $93 per month. Those same people will start paying $129 per person, starting in June. The poorest bracket includes those who earn less than 1.5 times the federal poverty level, which is less than $33,075 for a family four, or less than $16,245 for an individual.

The state-subsidized health program has more than 14,500 participants. The plan is for adults ranging from 19 to 64 who don't have children. The program had a sliding price scale with subsidies for anyone who made as much as 300 percent of the federal poverty level.

Charter Oak no longer offers a subsidy or a sliding scale to new enrollees. Anyone who enrolled after May 1 has to pay a uniform rate, which is increasing to $307 per month.

Charter Oak is one of several state health plans, including HUSKY for poor children and families and state-administered general assistance. Another program, SustiNet, is being developed and is expected to provide another insurance option for residents.

Federal health-care reform laws passed in March could change the number of people enrolled in Charter Oak because the lowest-income members might qualify for an expanded federal Medicaid program.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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