CT Governor Helps Kids by Removing Barrier to CHIP Enrollment – Say Ahhh! A Children’s Health Policy Blog


By Sharon Langer, Connecticut Voices for Children

Although Connecticut – like most states – is facing
unprecedented fiscal challenges, and like other northeast neighboring states,
challenging wintry conditions, there is some good health care news for children and
families coming from the “State of Steady Habits”. Governor Dannel P. Malloy recently announced that Connecticut will implement presumptive
eligibility for children in Connecticut’s Children’s Health Insurance
Program  (HUSKY B).   Presumptive eligibility (PE)
helps kid get timely care by allowing certain community-based health care
providers to determine their eligibility and to guarantee coverage based on
that determination.  Connecticut
already provides PE for children and pregnant women in Medicaid (HUSKY A).   Taking this latest step to
simplify enrollment will not only make HUSKY  B more family friendly, it may earn the state up to $4
million in federal bonus dollars under the 2009 Children’s Health Insurance
Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA). 

At the same time that the Governor announced
implementation of PE for HUSKY B children, he also announced plans to better
manage the state’s Medicaid dollars
– and garner substantial savings – by
moving the entire Medicaid (and CHIP) population (families, children, pregnant
women, seniors and persons with disabilities, and low-income adults) into a
non-risk model of care, with administrative services support and incentives for
doctors to better coordinate patient care.  As a result of the change in administration and assumption
of risk for the program, the Governor expects to save $41 million in the first
year after implementation.  

On Wednesday, the Governor proposed that Connecticut’s
Medicaid program, which serves over 500,000 state residents, pay for smoking
cessation medications and services.  
While Connecticut currently pays for smoking cessation for children and
pregnant women in Medicaid and HUSKY, it is only one of four states that has
not provided smoking cessation to seniors, persons with disabilities and
parents on Medicaid, who use tobacco products at a rate far higher than the
general population. This is a very welcome change that finally aligns our
public health and access to health care goals.  

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