A finance board meeting Tuesday in small-town Woodstock, Conn., grew contentious as members criticized other town officials for offering employees large health insurance stipends - only to end up receiving the stipends themselves. Board of Finance Vice Chairman Michael Dougherty said the stipend battle is “causing a lot of hate and discontent that’s totally unnecessary.”
Connecticut state retirees are having a new benefit added to their healthcare package as a result of anti-discrimination laws in President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Starting in July, hearing aids will be covered by the state retiree health plans. The devices cost, on average, about $4,500 according to the American Association for Retired Persons. Previously, insurance companies covered the costs of hearing aids for children 12 and under. State retirees were able to obtain a discount on hearing aids through Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield. However, based on the ACA’s restrictions, that age-based limit is considered discriminatory.
This year we’ve tried to shine a light on Connecticut’s bonded debt, as well as our pension and retiree healthcare liabilities. When all of this debt is combined, Connecticut is one of the most indebted states in the nation. A new report by J.P. Morgan’s Michael Cembalest provides additional clarity.
A doctor employed at the University of Connecticut Health Center’s prison health service has left the health organization following a reprimand by the medical examining board. Dr. James O'Halloran worked at UConn for 15 years, but before even taking his state job he had a troubled record. In January, the medical examining board placed O’Halloran on probation for five years for over-prescribing controlled substances and having an affair with a female employee in his private practice. O’Halloran worked as physician for the Correctional Managed Health Care system that provides medical care to prisoners across the state. He was on leave pending the board’s decision. The board ordered that he undergo therapy and random drug testing and barred him from meeting with patients in private.
Connecticut lawmakers face high legal hurdles if they want to reform health benefits for retired state workers, according to a new study from the Manhattan Institute. A 2002 Connecticut Supreme Court decision set the precedent, ruling that retiree health benefits could not be changed when a collective bargaining contract ends. However, this precedent contradicts a 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
About one hospital in five across the U.S. is for-profit. Connecticut — in keeping with regional tradition — is dominated by nonprofit hospitals. Across the country, the share of for-profit hospitals is growing, although the majority of hospitals are still nonprofit. Since 2000, the rate of for-profit ownership has increased from one in seven to one in five, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.