Some ninety-nine percent of Connecticut state Employees, recent retirees and their dependents are participating in a new health insurance program. The optional initiative is designed to lower health care costs for both employees and the state. New England Public Radio’s Adam Frenier reports.
The Health Enhancement Program takes a preventive approach to health care. Those choosing to participate agree to a series of screenings for medical conditions. In return, employees pay less for health care premiums and lower co-pays. Kevin Lembo is Connecticut’s Comptroller. He says employees with chronic conditions such as diabetes or asthma are subject to further requirements in order to be eligible for the Health Enhancement Program.
“We ask that they participate more fully in the care of their chronic illness. And if they get additional screenings and participate in care, we actually hope to see a huge amount of savings going forward. For every diabetic employee, for example, who loses their vision or a limb, that obviously is a tremendous toll on the individual and their family, but costs the program a lot of money as well”.
Lembo says it is too early to calculate specific savings to the state from the program.
Well realistically, it will be a number of fiscal years, two or three, before we are actually in a position to point to a direct correlation between the program and savings. But some of the early indicators are that emergency visits are down and other costly acute care is also on the decline.”
Lembo says the Health Enhancement Program went into effect in October. It was part of an agreement between the Governor’s Office and unionized state workers as part of a larger saving program for Connecticut. While many private sector companies use a similar initiative, this is the largest public sector program of its kind. For New England Public Radio, I’m Adam Frenier.