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Connecticut Budget Kicks Low-Income Families Off Medicaid

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Connecticut’s recently passed biennial budget made drastic changes to health care provisions for some state residents. One of the ways lawmakers saved money was by cutting back Medicaid eligibility. 

As a result of the budget about 9,500 people in Connecticut will no longer be eligible to receive their health care through Husky A, the state’s Medicaid program for low-income families, a move that saved some $11 million.

State health care advocate Ted Doolittle said those affected need urgent help to buy plans on the Obamacare exchange, Access Health CT.

“Those people really should and need to be alert, and go on, and try to get onto the Access Health website and get specific coaching,” he told WNPR's Where We Live.

Doolittle said most will be able to get low-cost plans, because they’ll be able to take advantage of federal subsidies.

But this year’s open enrollment period is the shortest ever, and ends December 22.

“Most of them will be eligible for good coverage on the exchange if they can be alert enough to find it," he said. "That’s my concern. Not that they’re not eligible for assistance on the exchange because most of them will be, but that they’re not going to be able to understand where they need to go in time to get coverage.”

But for a much larger group of state residents, there may be fewer options. About 68,000 elderly and disabled people will lose state help under a program that subsidizes Medicare Part B premiums.

Supporters say the change brings Connecticut into line with other states which never offered such generous benefits, but advocates say it may now be harder for physicians to provide care for this population.

Harriet Jones is Managing Editor for Connecticut Public Radio, overseeing the coverage of daily stories from our busy newsroom.

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