Connecticut: State House unanimously votes to lock in Guaranteed Issue & crack down on Short-Term Plans!

Hot on the heels of Washington State locking in pretty much every "Blue Leg" ACA protection in a single bill today, the Connecticut state House of Representatives passed their own bill covering some ACA protections (via CT News Junkie):

Connecticut’s House of Representatives voted Wednesday to strengthen state health insurance laws by making sure residents with pre-existing conditions are protected.

House Bill 5521 passed unanimously by a 146-0 vote, and now goes to the Senate.

Well, now. I guess Connecticut Republicans are smarter than Congressional Republicans, anyway...

...A few Republicans questioned Scanlon about the bill, stating they were primarily concerned about whether the legislation would increase the cost of insurance on Connecticut residents if the Affordable Care Act is eventually repealed at the federal level.

That's actually...a perfectly reasonable question to ask, really, since yes, that's the whole reason for the "3-Legged Stool" framework of the ACA in the first place: Guaranteed Issue, Community Rating, Essential Health Benefits and other Blue Leg protections do cause the official premium levels to increase, which is precisely why the ACA includes financial subsidies to cover those increased premiums/deductibles and (used to) include an individual coverage mandate penalty to discourage adverse selection.

Scanlon said the legislation expands former Insurance Commissioner Katharine Wade’s August 2018 bulletins, which said that “any short-term limited-duration plan to offer the ACA’s essential health benefits for policies sold in the individual market,” and “any renewable short-term limited-duration health plan and any short-term limited-duration health plan longer than six months cannot exclude pre-existing conditions.”

The legislation expands pre-existing condition coverage to plans shorter than six months.

Those seem a little repetitive and confusing, but the bottom line is that this bill cracks down fairly well on #ShortAssPlans...they're allowed for six months per year instead of three, but the pre-existing condition coverage requirement also minimizes any "advantage" (i.e., dirt-cheap rates) they might have over ACA policies in the first place, which should have a similar effect.

In Connecticut there are 2.21 million privately insured residents. Of those, about 1.85 million get their insurance from large group plans, 131,000 have individual plans, and 235,000 people are covered under small group plans. The Insurance Department doesn’t regulate the plans of 1.85 million people in the large group market, where the terms of employee benefits are set by employers.

So of those 2.21 million privately insured residents, the 366,000 with individual plans or who are covered under small group plans are protected from losing coverage for pre-existing conditions if the ACA is repealed or struck down by a court. Those with employer-provided insurance coverage in the large group market are not.

Interesting breakout of the total coverage numbers by market here. Also an important reminder that some of the ACA's pre-existing coverage protections apply to all private insurance policies.

The bill the House passed Wednesday also doesn’t require documentation by a medical professional to prove someone has a pre-existing condition. Scanlon said that’s currently part of the ACA that they are looking to make state law.

...Last year, Connecticut lawmakers passed HB 5210 to provide some extra protections to its health insurance law.

HB 5210 protects the ACA’s essential health benefits, such as prescription drug coverage, maternity care, pediatric services, and preventative care, for anyone who has a plan regulated by the state Insurance Department. It also requires some plans to provide preventive services for women, children, and adolescents at no cost.

Connecticut already had the ACA's "young adults stay on their parents plan" provision baked in as well, although it's limited to age 25 instead of 26 and the adult child can't be married, but that's not too much of a stretch, I suppose.