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State Senator

Norm Needleman

Representing Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook

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Needleman Announces New Laws That Protect Women and Enhance Healthcare Benefits

Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) issued the first in a series of legislation updates designed to inform District 33 residents of new laws addressing important issues.

In announcing the update, Needleman said: “On January 1, new laws took effect that impact issues like increased health insurance coverage, protections for victims of domestic violence, and pay equity for women. Every citizen of our district should be informed of the important benefits and protections these new laws offer.”

Below is a brief summary of the new legislation.

Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence

Public Act 18-5 requires a police officer, when responding to a family violence complaint, to arrest the person the officer determines to be the ’dominant aggressor’ (defined as the person who poses the most serious, ongoing threat.) This new law will help address a problem in Connecticut where police arrest both the victim and the abuser in a domestic violence situation 20 percent of the time. That arrest rate is three times the national average.

Pay Equity

Public Act 18-8 generally prohibits an employer from asking about a prospective employee’s wage and salary history. Women in America earn 48 cents to 79 cents for every dollar a man earns. This wage disparity is partly due to decades of sexism and unconscious gender bias that depresses women’s starting salaries, affecting their salary history when they change jobs. The intent of this new law is to insure that every individual is offered a fair and equitable wage for the job they are seeking.

Writing Obamacare Protections into Connecticut Law

Public Act 18-10 requires that—even if the federal Affordable Care Act (also known as ‘Obamacare') is repealed—certain health insurance policies offered for sale to residents of Connecticut must cover at least 10 essential health benefits, including:

  • Ambulatory patient services
  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization
  • Maternity and newborn health care
  • Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative services and devices
  • Laboratory services
  • Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
  • Pediatric services, including oral and vision care

Coverage of Breast Imaging Services

Public Act 18-159 requires insurance companies in Connecticut to cover costs for a variety of mammograms, breast ultrasounds and breast imaging MRI’s with no cost share to the patient. Previously, some baseline mammograms were covered by insurance, but if an additional, follow-up procedure was needed, patients could be billed for hundreds of dollars. This new law helps save patients money while providing them with the vital medical services they need.

Needleman ended the update by saying: “This is the first of what will be a series of communications on new legislation and the impact it has on the daily lives of everyone in our district. I promised to make sense of what is happening in Hartford . . . keeping everyone informed on progress in addressing important issues is the first step.”

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