ICYMI: Study: ‘Public Option’ Could Lead To Higher Premiums, Taxes

HARTFORD, Conn. – A new study by KNG Health Care Consulting finds that creating a new state government-controlled health insurance system, known as the “public option,” in Connecticut could result in higher taxes and premiums and also reduce access to quality health care.

The Hartford Business Journal reported on the study Tuesday, noting findings included that the public option “would likely force the state to raise taxes on health insurers and residents, increase premiums and possibly increase the number of uninsured people.” The story highlighted some of the key findings of the report, which was supported by Connecticut’s Health Care Future, including:

State revenue from premium taxes and health insurance assessments could fall between $71 million and $122 million by 2023.

The state would likely have to increase taxes and assessments on health insurers or add additional taxes on businesses and individuals in order make up that shortfall.

In four of six scenarios modeled, the increase in the number of uninsured ranges from 9,000 to 29,000 because of higher premiums for workers—especially for those whose employers do not take up the public option.

If the new insurance plan is as underfunded as Connecticut’s current insurance plan for non-state employees, the state would likely need to raise premiums or other tax revenues. This would likely result in a heavier financial burden for residents or a cut to provider reimbursement rates, which could negatively affect access to high-quality treatment and services.

The Hartford Business Journal notes that last year, legislators declined to advance the misguided public option plan for a third consecutive year amid widespread opposition and concern.

Meanwhile, Connecticut residents are already benefitting from affordable insurance options through the state’s health insurance exchange. CT News Junkie reported that more than 108,690 Connecticut residents had enrolled in the exchange as of early January—demonstrating that the current system is working to expand access to affordable, high-quality coverage and care.

And thanks to the increased health subsidies provided by the American Rescue Plan, tens of thousands more Connecticut residents became eligible for lower-cost and even free health coverage. In fact, an estimated 40,000 Connecticut residents qualify for Covered Connecticut, which offers free premiums, copays and deductibles.

Instead of creating a new state government-controlled health insurance system, policymakers should be working together to improve our current system and increase participation in existing free or low costs programs to help bring affordable health coverage to more Connecticut residents.

To read the full article in Hartford Business Journal, click HERE.

To read the full KNG study, click HERE.