State of Connecticut Office of Health Access
Press Release

Contact: John Blair

Phone: (860) 418-7024

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 14, 2006

            
           OFFICE OF HEALTH CARE ACCESS RELEASES 2005 HUSKY FAMILY
               AND HUSKY EMPLOYER SURVEY RESULTS

HARTFORD – According to the Office of Health Care Access (OHCA) 2005 Working HUSKY Family and HUSKY Employer Surveys results released today, nearly one in five employed adults in "working HUSKY families" (those with at least one member receiving HUSKY benefits and headed by an employed adult) are without health insurance coverage, while almost half have public coverage. The surveys, conducted between August and October, 2005, also revealed that 51 percent, or an estimated 40,000, of working HUSKY families are eligible for employer-based health insurance coverage. Of that 40,000, an estimated 23,000 heads of households are enrolled in such coverage while some member of their family is receiving HUSKY benefits. Cost was cited as the main reason 13,000 of 17,000 eligible families did not enroll in employer-based coverage. A family of three earning between 100 and 150 percent of FPL ($16,000 to $24,000) would need to spend between 12 and 17 percent of its total annual income to pay its portion of the least expensive coverage offered by HUSKY employers.

Additionally, the surveys found that half of working heads of HUSKY families are full time employees, mostly in service or retail positions (75 percent). They are predominantly

-- MORE --

women (91 percent), and 64 percent earn below 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) (e.g., less than $24,000 for a family of three). The surveys also revealed that more than three quarters of HUSKY employers (firms with employee or family member currently covered by HUSKY) offer some type of coverage, with 67 percent offering family coverage. Cost is also cited as the main reason 25 percent of HUSKY employers do not offer health benefits. HUSKY employers offering coverage reported that the average annual monthly premiums for the least expensive coverage they offer are $311 for employee-only and $767 for family coverage. Employees’ average contributions toward that coverage are $72 and $230, respectively.

"According to the survey results, an estimated 40,000 HUSKY families are eligible for employer based coverage with 13,000 reporting they did not enroll due to cost," said OHCA Commissioner Crisitine Vogel. "We are hopeful that these research findings will provide more information for our policymakers to assist in the development of strategies to provide better access to affordable health insurance."

The surveys were funded by a State Planning Grant awarded by the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HRSA). The HRSA state planning grant program assists states in developing strategies to improve access to insurance coverage. Grantees receive funding to collect new data and study health insurance trends in order to create coverage options for their uninsured.

A complete copy of this brief can be found on OHCA’s website at http://www.ct.gov/ohca