Conn. GOP leader wants vote on insurance changes

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Senate Republican Leader John McKinney urged Gov. Dannel P. Malloy Friday to call the General Assembly into special session to vote to allow insurance companies to continue offering plans that would otherwise be canceled because they don’t meet minimum standards required by the federal health insurance overhaul law.

It came a day after President Barack Obama announced that insurers can continue selling those plans, considered substandard under the federal Affordable Care Act, to existing customers.

McKinney sent a letter to Malloy telling him state law currently requires the Department of Insurance commissioner to disapprove any insurance policy that doesn’t comply with the rules of the Affordable Care Act. McKinney contends that now needs to be changed.

“Because of that statute passed in 2011 on a partisan vote … Connecticut cannot implement the president’s request, that if people like their plans, they can keep them,” McKinney said.

It’s unclear how many Connecticut policies have been dropped. While the state is not tracking the figure, McKinney said he believes it’s in the tens of thousands.

McKinney, from Fairfield, said he recently received a call from a constituent, a single mother, who got a cancellation notice and learned the products available on the state’s health insurance exchange were nearly twice as expensive as what she is currently paying.

“We should allow people who picked plans that were right for them and affordable for them to keep them. We cannot allow this train wreck to continue to happen,” McKinney said.

Malloy has instructed the insurance commissioner and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman to review the president’s decree to determine what action, if any, needs to be taken by the state.

“Until all the facts are in, there is no reason to call a special session,” said Andrew Doba, Malloy’s spokesman.

House Speaker Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, accused McKinney, a gubernatorial candidate in the 2014 election, of “playing electoral politics.” He said Access Health CT has been a success and Connecticut already has some of the highest standards for insurance coverage in the country.

“Our health care system is too important, for too many people, to be used as one of Senator McKinney’s campaign props,” Sharkey said.

The latest figures show Connecticut’s health insurance marketplace has so far enrolled a total of 13,128 individuals since Oct. 1, including 7,572 in private insurance plans and 5,556 in government-funded Medicaid coverage.

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