Yale Daily News

Access Health CT, an online insurance marketplace, has expanded its efforts to recruit potential clients through a new enrollment location at Yale New Haven Hospital.

Under Gov. Dannel Malloy’s proposed budget for Connecticut, 9,500 people stand to lose access to HUSKY A, a type of Medicaid insurance for parents and caregivers of children, according to a briefing released by the Connecticut Health Foundation in March. These individuals instead may seek out insurance programs offered under the government-subsidized insurance market known as Access Health CT.

“Those parents who will lose free Medicaid coverage will need to seek insurance through Access Health CT, and [they] have limited time to sign up,” public health professor Shelley Geballe LAW ’76 SPH ’95 said. “They also will have to begin paying for their health care.”

Access Health CT offers free in-person help at nine other enrollment locations across the state, according to its website. At these locations, representatives from the organization answer questions and help potential enrollees navigate the online sign-up process, said Kathleen Tallarita, the government affairs, public relations and outreach manager at Access Health CT.

The online marketplace was formed under the Affordable Care Act as another venue for Americans to purchase health insurance. Instead of facing a potential fine up to $600 for not having any form of health insurance, Connecticut residents can enroll via Access Health CT.

Since Access Health CT is a federally subsidized entity, the repeal of the ACA would result in the termination of the program. According to Jennifer Squires, the health program assistant at the Connecticut Department of Public Health, Access Health CT is a completely separate entity from the state’s health care efforts. This would mean that any changes to the ACA would directly affect Access Health CT.

According to the Access Health CT website, the ACA has given quality and affordable health care to more than 161,000 Connecticut residents who would otherwise be uninsured. Access Health CT has been available for open enrollment since Nov. 1.

The organization is currently focused on ensuring that Connecticut residents understand the importance of having insurance and get financial assistance if they qualify, Tallarita said.

Since last year, however, the insurance rates and premiums of the individual companies to which Access Health CT links have gone up, according to an Oct. 30 Hartford Courant article.

“AHCT is very concerned about the impact of rate increases on our customers,” Tallarita said. “We know that any increase makes coverage harder to afford. That’s why we continue to work with outside organizations to find ways to impact the cost of health care.”

Access Health CT has not announced any projections about expected enrollment rates for this year.

The 2018 open enrollment period for Access Health CT will end on Dec. 22.

Grace Kang | grace.kang@yale.edu