After strong push, 41 percent losing Medicaid get new coverage

A sign outside the women's center in Danbury directs Access Health CT customers to the transition enrollment fair Wednesday afternoon.

Kyle Constable /

A sign outside the women’s center in Danbury directs Access Health CT customers to the transition enrollment fair.

After a strong push from Connecticut’s health insurance exchange, about 5,600 low-income parents and caregivers transitioned to new health coverage through the state exchange before losing their state-sponsored Medicaid at the end of July.

However, this means that 8,224 others who lost coverage either enrolled in a new plan independent of the exchange or, more likely, did not find new coverage at all by Aug. 1.

About 14,000 parents and caregivers on HUSKY A – the state-sponsored Medicaid program for low-income parents, caregivers and children – lost their coverage on July 31 after legislators made eligibility requirements more stringent in 2015.

Officials from the state exchange, Access Health CT, say about 41 percent of those affected – 5,587 people – transitioned to new health insurance plans through the exchange before the deadline.

Those who have not yet transitioned to a new plan still have until Sept. 29 to get coverage through the exchange. Eligible individuals can enroll in a state Medicaid plan at any time.

“We have said from the beginning that we consider every person who signs up to be a success,” Access Health CEO Jim Wadleigh said Tuesday. “By that measure, we have been successful enrolling 41 percent of eligible (transition) customers.”

Wadleigh says those without health insurance for 2016 could face tax penalties up to $695 or 2.5 percent of their incomes – whichever is greater.

Of those who made the transition, about 62 percent were able to enroll in a different HUSKY plan after their eligibility was redetermined. The remaining 38 percent enrolled in new plans from a private carrier on the exchange.

The state exchange made a concerted effort to help those affected find new health coverage, holding nearly a dozen transition fairs across the state and contacting affected individuals both by mail and phone.