Uninsured women who become pregnant might be able to buy health coverage after the fact, if the governor of Connecticut signs a bill just passed by the House. The state’s Senate approved the measure last week.
The Connecticut Mirror reports that despite the bill’s support in the legislature—the House passed it 139–10, while the Senate passed it unanimously—it’s not guaranteed that Gov. Dannel Malloy will sign it. Malloy has previously expressed concern over the bill, which would open a special enrollment period for 30 days after a pregnancy is confirmed by a licensed health care provider.
Malloy spokesman Leigh Appleby is quoted saying in the report after the House vote, “We have in the past expressed concern with this legislation’s potential to drive up premiums—particularly its impact on plans purchased through Access Health CT—but we will give the bill a careful review.”
Appleby adds, “The best way to ensure that women have access to prenatal care is to make sure people maintain continuous health insurance coverage. However, national Republicans’ repeal of key components of the Affordable Care Act, including the individual mandate, has had a destabilizing effect on the individual market and has made it necessary for legislators to consider half measures like this.”
Another naysayer to the bill is Rep. Rob Sampson, R-Wolcott, ranking member on the insurance committee, who voted against the bill, saying, “I feel like we are carving out an exception that we would not do for someone else who gets sick suddenly, or has some other reason that they might have a sudden need for insurance.”
The bill does not apply to group insurance plans, and at present, pregnancy is not classified as a qualifying life event in Connecticut.
A second bill awaiting Malloy’s signature requires individual and small-group health insurance policies to cover the same 10 “essential health benefits” the ACA mandates. It’s regarded as a safeguard against potential changes in the ACA to ensure that Connecticut residents with insurance would be able to keep those 10 benefits. In addition, the law requires insurance companies to cover a 12-month supply of birth control.