Matt Lesser

State Senator

Matt Lesser

Deputy Majority Leader

Your Independent Voice

March 15, 2019

Lesser, Scanlon Pleased with Committee Advancement of Health Insurance Reform Legislation

HARTFORD, CT – Today, Insurance and Real Estate Committee co-chairs State Senator Matt Lesser (D-Middletown) and State Representative Sean Scanlon (D-Guilford) lauded the efforts of the Insurance and Real Estate Committee for approving transformative health insurance reform legislation. From lowering the high costs of prescription drugs, to getting control of high deductible health plans, Sen. Lesser said these reforms will bring much-needed relief to Connecticut families.

“I applaud the Insurance and Real Estate Committee for moving the most sweeping slate of health insurance reforms our state has seen in years forward and tackling the cost of prescription drugs, high deductible health plans and the unaffordability of healthcare,” said Sen. Lesser. “The prescription drug bills and high deductible health plan reform are incredibly important in their own right to make Connecticut a national leader in reforming these areas. I’m excited to work with the AARP and other stakeholders in making healthcare more affordable and accessible for Connecticut families.”

Rep. Scanlon agreed these reforms are necessary and will positively impact the lives of Connecticut residents who are burdened with the high price of care. He applauded the committee for moving this legislation forward.

“Today our committee took bold action to lower the cost of prescription drugs and hold drug companies accountable for backroom deals that keep prices high,” said Rep. Scanlon. “This legislation along with our high deductible bill is all about delivering on promises we made last fall to lower the cost of health care and I’m proud that we are keeping our promise to the people of Connecticut and providing them with real relief.”

The Insurance and Real Estate committee advanced the following bills to the House and Senate.

Lowering the High Cost of Prescription Drugs: House Bill 7174 takes action to address the rising costs of prescription drugs. This legislation, backed by the AARP, will give authority to the state’s Comptroller to create the “Connecticut Prescription Drug Program.” This program will allow individuals to enroll in pharmacy benefit terms negotiated by the state for its state employee pool. The Comptroller will also be able to make the state’s pharmacy benefit terms available to qualified private employees.

This legislation will put an end to “pay for delay,” practices, where branded drug companies pay generic drug companies to delay introducing a cheaper alternative to the market by requiring the drug to be sold at 50 percent of the list price for the time period of the delay. This bill will also protect small pharmacies and their customers by preventing pharmacy benefit managers from hitting them with retroactive fees to recoup claim payments already paid to the pharmacy at the point-of-sale, provide a rebate to consumers at the point-of-sale and establish a task force to study the feasibility of importing prescription drugs from Canada.

Dealing with High Deductible Health Plans: Senate Bill 902 will require certain high deductible health plans to apply annual deductibles on a calendar-year basis, prorate yearly deductibles to reflect the portion of the year the coverage was effective, provide deductions for in-network as well as out-of-network covered benefits and not increase deductibles due to a plan providing family coverage or due to family size. Currently, high deductible health plans are putting care out of reach, as individuals and families are saddled with exorbitant deductible milestones to reach in order to access care. Many Connecticut residents are burdened by this and are essentially uninsured. This legislation will remove this burden and provide health plans that are affordable and fair.