Connecticut expands access to affordable health insurance for personal care attendants


| Photo by Georg Arthur Plueger on Unsplash

HARTFORD, CT – The Connecticut Personal Care Attendant Workforce Council and SEIU 1199 have agreed to expand the deadline for personal care attendants (PCAs) to apply for the new Premium Assistance first-round benefit through their designated fiscal intermediary.

According to the Lamont administration, PCAs provide valuable services and support to more than 7,000 Connecticut Medicaid consumers to remain in their homes and communities. PCAs may now apply for the benefit through April 7, 2023.

This particular 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 Ned 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 May 2022, a contract was reached between the Personal Care Attendant Workforce Council, 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.

The council partnered with Access Health CT to facilitate premium assistance and help PCAs navigate options. By establishing a particular enrollment period and dedicated telephone line with navigator assistance, PCAs can easily find the best health insurance option for themselves and obtain enrolment 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.

According to the announcement, 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 genuine 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.

The administration said PCAs would soon receive communication from their union and the fiscal intermediary with instructions on accessing this critical benefit.

–With Jay Domingo/PDM

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