HUSKY enrollment drops, briefly

For the first time in more than a year and a half, enrollment in the HUSKY Medicaid program fell slightly in July, but it rebounded this month and state officials expect last month’s figure to be a one-time drop.

The HUSKY Medicaid program, known as HUSKY A, covers children and their parents or guardians who earn up to 185 percent of the poverty level. Enrollment rose every month from December 2009 to June of this year, when it peaked at 396,960 people. It fell in July to 393,111, but rose again to 394,480 this month.

The July dip appears to stem from the disenrollment of recent immigrants from the program, said David Dearborn, a spokesman for the state Department of Social Services. Nearly 4,900 legal immigrant noncitizens who have been in the U.S. fewer than five years lost their coverage last month, the result of a move by lawmakers to eliminate medical coverage for recent immigrant noncitizens. The change did not apply to pregnant women or anyone under 21.

Federal law prohibits states from providing Medicaid coverage to noncitizens who have not been in the country for at least five years, but Connecticut had provided state-funded coverage to legal noncitizens who met the qualifications for Medicaid except for not having been in the country long enough. Lawmakers eliminated the coverage in 2009, but the change was delayed after a Superior Court judge issued an injunction. The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that the program could be eliminated.

A separate program, known as HUSKY B, covers children in families with higher income levels, and those at the lowest levels receive state subsidies. Enrollment in HUSKY B has ranged from from 14,840 to 15,400 in the past year.