Governor Lamont Announces Agreement To Expand Access to Health Coverage for Personal Care Attendants
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that his administration has taken measures to further expand access to affordable health insurance for personal care attendants (PCAs), who provide valuable services and support to more than 7,000 of Connecticut’s Medicaid consumers so they can remain in their homes and communities.
The Connecticut Personal Care Attendant Workforce Council and SEIU 1199 have come to an agreement to expand the application deadline for PCAs to apply for the first round of the new Premium Assistance benefit through their designated fiscal intermediary. PCAs may now apply for the benefit through April 7, 2023. This special enrollment period for coverage through Access Health CT runs from March 15, 2023, to May 15, 2023. For those who do not apply for assistance by April 7, 2023, another application period will be provided later this year with payment on or around September in time for the traditional open enrollment period on Access Health CT.
“Our personal care attendants provide valuable services to our most vulnerable residents, helping them to continue to live independently and under their own terms,” Governor Lamont said. “Providing our PCAs with the opportunity to enroll in Access Health CT is the right thing to do, and I am proud that Connecticut is one of the first states that is making this available for this workforce. I encourage every one of our PCAs who are not enrolled in health coverage to sign up for this important benefit.”
In a groundbreaking contract reached in May of 2022 between the Personal Care Attendant Workforce Council, an entity established to represent the state and Medicaid consumers in collective bargaining, and District 1199NE Health Care Workers’ Union, a premium assistance benefit was made available for the first time to provide financial assistance that would allow PCAs, who do not qualify for Covered CT or other employer coverage, the ability to purchase health insurance through Access Health CT, the state’s health insurance exchange, or to help cover other out-of-pocket medical costs. Connecticut is a leader among states in offering an opportunity for healthcare premium support to PCAs.
To facilitate the use of premium assistance and help PCAs navigate options on the exchange, the council took the unprecedented step of partnering with Access Health CT to establish a special enrollment period and dedicated telephone line with navigator assistance for PCAs so that they can easily find the best health insurance option for them and obtain enrollment support. The Access Health CT navigators also screen the PCAs for eligibility for the HUSKY and Covered CT programs. It is a one-stop-shop for PCAs to find the best health coverage for themselves and their families.
This workforce is employed directly by participants in the state’s self-directed Medicaid programs, Community First Choice, and certain Medicaid waivers. The self-directed Medicaid option allows older adults and individuals of various abilities to exercise true autonomy and choice over when, how, and by whom their care is provided by providing an individual service budget and customized care plan that empowers Medicaid recipients to serve as the employer of record and the ability to hire, train and manage their own PCAs.
PCAs will soon receive communication from their union and the fiscal intermediary with instructions on how they can access this important benefit.
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