Government Health

West Hartford Legislators Call for Expansion of HUSKY Health Insurance Program

State Capitol building. Courtesy of CTNewsJunkie.com

State Rep. Kate Farrar and state Sen. Derek Slap are advocating for the expansion of the state’s HUSKY health insurance program.

By Ronni Newton

Two West Hartford legislators spoke at a “HUSKY 4 Immigrants” event at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford on Wednesday, and both propose extending the state program’s availability to all residents – regardless of immigration status or age.

State Rep. Kate Farrar (D-20th) who represents West Hartford and Newington, and state Sen. Derek Slap (D-5th) who represents West Hartford, Farmington, Burlington, and Bloomfield, expressed their support for a bill that would expand legislation enacted in 2021 and 2022, providing access to coverage for children up to the age of 12 as well as pregnant and postpartum women. According to the legislators, under the current program children 12 and under who are enrolled in HUSKY can keep their insurance until age 19, but those without permanent legal status at the time of enrollment are not eligible once they reach the age of 12.

“Children older than 12 aren’t immune from health concerns,” Farrar said in a statement. “This proposed bill will give Connecticut kids regardless of age and our Connecticut working parents the opportunity to succeed in school, at work and in life. No one should be denied health care because of their immigration status or get in the way of health care decisions between a doctor and patient. As our state continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, this proposal to expand HUSKY is essential to build a healthier state and a healthier future.”

“Denying people health care who would otherwise qualify for HUSKY if not for their immigration status forces these families to seek care in the emergency department – a cruel and costly policy that needs to change,” Slap said in a statement. “We have made good progress over the last several years by expanding access to all qualifying children regardless of immigration status and we should continue that push.”

Luis Luna of Husky 4 Immigrants expressed his support for expansion of the program. “Health care is a human right – everyone should have the right to have a healthy life and take care of their family,” he said in a statement. “Early treatment and preventative care reduce the amount an individual will pay for health care by preventing health issues from developing further while saving hospitals more than $63 million  from uncompensated care.”

According to Farrar and Slap, 58% of the roughly 113,000 undocumented immigrants in the state do not currently have health insurance, but the approximately $145 million annual state and local taxes they pay fund Connecticut’s HUSKY program.

HUSKY offers comprehensive health care services that include check-ups, dental care, immunization, prescriptions, and health screenings.

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