HRSA State Planning Grant, 2004

Overview

OHCA was first awarded a State Planning Grant (SPG) from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in March 2001 and received funding annually through 2006 to study the uninsured and identify appropriate policy options to increase access to affordable health care coverage in the state, especially for low-income, working families.

The SPG program served as an important resource to states looking to develop strategies to improve access to insurance coverage.  Since a majority of Connecticut’s uninsured is lower income working adults, improving access to Employer-Sponsored Insurance (ESI) was identified as a policy option.  ESI is a cost effective way to keep entire families covered together, to prevent the shift from private to public insurance and to help Connecticut businesses maintain a productive and healthy workforce. 

Working to develop effective program policies aimed at expansion of access of care, Connecticut’s State Planning work group members attended quarterly meetings with other HRSA grantee States to share ideas, policy options, lessons learned, utilize resources available through the grant, and met with Rhode Island and Massachusetts to discuss their state’s experiences with premium assistance.

 

Data Collection Activities

To support planning activities, significant data collection activities were completed during the grant period.  OHCA fielded separate household and employer surveys in 2001, 2004, and 2006, and targeted groups with high incidences of uninsurance in 2004 and 2006.  OHCA contracted with the University of Connecticut’s Center for Survey Research and Analysis (CSRA) to conduct the surveys.  These surveys provided information about the state’s population, including insurance coverage status, duration of uninsurance, demographic details and availability of employer based coverage.  Since the 2004 survey findings revealed that a high percentage of uninsured people and Medicaid recipients were working and might have access to employer sponsored coverage, OHCA conducted more focused surveys on working HUSKY families, and other low wage workers along with their employers in the fall of 2005.  In 2006, OHCA also conducted indepth surveys on minorities and young adults since they have a greater risk of being uninsured.  Surveys revealed that these groups have reduced access to employer-coverage and lower incomes.  These surveys were fielded to better quantify these high risk

Populations and study the barriers they face in obtaining health coverage.

 

Conclusion

Throughout the grant period, OHCA played a unique role of informing policy, collecting up-to-date uninsured data, and identifying barriers to insurance.  Through our grant-funded data collection, research and analysis activities, OHCA has become a recognized authoritative source of information regarding health insurance coverage in the State of Connecticut.  OHCA conducted presentations on survey and research findings and distributed publications to legislators, state agencies, healthcare advocates, municipal governments, health care providers and other stakeholders to inform their planning and policy making efforts.  OHCA’s findings have been referenced by several agencies and legislative committees in support of healthcare options. The State Planning Grant program ended in early 2007 but OHCA will continue to provide data and analysis to support policy options to expand access to Connecticut’s uninsured.

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