HB 6616: An Act Concerning Expansion of HUSKY Health Benefits to Those Ineligible Due to Immigration Status

Human Services Committee

February 14, 2023

Submitted By: Stephen Wanczyk-Karp, LMSW

The National Association of Social Workers, Connecticut Chapter (NASW/CT), representing over 2,300 members, supports HB 6616 to expand HUSKY coverage to currently uncovered immigrants up to 26 years of age. This will be a positive step forward though we support coverage of all income eligible immigrants that would make this bill inclusive and much more impactful.

Except for currently covered children, Connecticut immigrants continue to be left out of eligibility for health coverage through Connecticut’s HUSKY program. The undocumented community is blocked from accessing health coverage (and often healthcare itself) in CT. They cannot apply to AccessHealth CT’s health plans, are not eligible for HUSKY, and private insurance companies are either too expensive or outright reject applications due to lack of documentation.  It is estimated that uninsured rates for foreign born, non-citizens (legal permanent residents) are over 30% and for the undocumented population it is over 50%. However, Connecticut immigrants contribute about 1.8 billion dollars in state and local taxes each year, which helps fund our HUSKY program as well as other state services.

This bill is especially important as it improves the lives and health care of immigrants who may have HUSKY coverage as a child but then have no coverage as they move into early adulthood. This is really a foolhardy policy as the State invests in the child but not the young adult. The need for health care does not end when a person moves from adolescence to adulthood.

By passing this bill, Connecticut can save money through preventative care, which will provide for a healthier immigrant community and reduce uncompensated care costs.

Connecticut residents regardless of immigration status should be able to receive medical assistance through HUSKY.  Health care is a human right; no person, regardless of immigration status, should be without health coverage.

NASW/CT urges passage of HB 6616 with modifications to make the bill inclusive of all  immigrants in Connecticut regardless of age.

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