January 26, 2022

In This Issue
Welcome to NAHU's State Update!
States Consider Universal Healthcare Ballot Initiatives
Connecticut Announces New Broker-Training Program
California Single-Payer Advocates Attempt to Pass Bill Ahead of Deadline
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Connecticut Announces New Broker-Training Program

Connecticut officials announced last week that the Nutmeg State will be training up to 100 licensed health insurance brokers to enroll uninsured residents, in a program dubbed the “Broker Academy.” While Connecticut has one of the lowest uninsured rates in the country, the Broker Academy is intended to target  cities that have trailed the rest of the state in coverage. There are currently just 400 brokers licensed to sell insurance through the exchange.

The cities that state officials want to focus on are Bridgeport, New Haven and Hartford, cities that lag behind the rest of the state in coverage. The first Broker Academy class is anticipated to launch in June and will include 100 students, all from the aforementioned cities. Those chosen will receive free training, a three-month apprenticeship with an experienced insurance broker, and professional-development resources. Training will fully conclude by the start of the next open-enrollment period on November 1, and the brokers will be paid by commission for every person they enroll through Access Health CT, the state exchange.

The cost of the training program is estimated to be approximately $230,000, funded by Access Health CT with the assistance of outside grants. “Despite Connecticut’s high ranking in wealth, there are substantial disparities in the health status and in the healthcare delivery to lower-income Connecticut residents, especially in communities of color,” Access Health CT CEO James Michel told media outlets. “By activating members of this community to become brokers, Access Health Connecticut can build trust by meeting members of the community where they are and, at the same time, create an economic benefit in those areas.”

Two carriers (Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and ConnectiCare) operate on the exchange, but once the brokers are licensed to sell insurance through the marketplace, they are required to offer plans to beneficiaries through both carriers.

Speaking of open enrollment, a handful of states opted to extend their OEPs. Maryland, Colorado and New York – all of which run their own state-based exchanges – announced last week that they would be extending the period during which residents can obtain marketplace coverage. The Empire State and Old Bay State extended their OEPs in light of the COVID-19 Omicron variant and HHS’ recent extension of the public health emergency. In the Centennial State, however, officials cited a wildfire as the cause for the OEP extension; the “Marshall Fire” began on December 30 and destroyed over 1,000 homes and businesses. “These folks are just trying to put their lives back together,” said Kevin Patterson, CEO of Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s health insurance marketplace. “So giving them some additional time seemed like a reasonable and thoughtful thing to consider.”

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