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The State of Healthcare in Connecticut

There is a healthcare cost problem in the State of Connecticut.

The increasing cost of healthcare is damaging Connecticut’s economic development, causing the state to lag economically behind our neighboring states. Currently, Connecticut ranks 6th nationally for healthcare spend and has significant health disparities that need to be addressed.   

Healthcare costs are a major problem for our residents and employers, far outpacing wage growth. Over the past 15 years, families saw the cost of healthcare rise by 77% while the median wage only went up by 21%.” Vicki VeltriExecutive Director, Connecticut Office of Health Strategy 

Despite this, there is good news on the horizon. In January, the redefined health plan for state employees was announced and the recent executive order signed by Governor Ned LamontConnecticut has begun developing a strategy for reducing the healthcare cost trend.  

Among other items, the Executive Order #5 signed directs the Office of Health Strategy (OHS) to:  

  • Develop annual healthcare cost growth benchmarks by December 2020, for calendar years 2021-2025, 
  • Set targets for increased primary care spending as a percentage of total healthcare spending to reach 10% by 2025,  
  • Monitor and report annually on healthcare spending growth across public and private payers. 

So, What Does This New Executive Order Mean?

Today, annual primary care spending represents a total of 4% of healthcare spending in Connecticut. This figure ranks as one of the lowest in the nationwhile Connecticut ranks amongst the highest in avoidable hospitalizations and patients with at least one hospitalization in the last 12 months. 

By focusing efforts on the promotion of primary care visits, it can have positive effect on overall healthcare costs. When patients head straight to a specialized doctor without consulting their primary care physician, they are not getting the best cost of care. As shown within the U.S., healthcare markets with a larger percentage of primary care physicians have lower spending and higher quality of care 

The executive order and reconfiguration of the state health plan are significant steps toward alleviating some of our healthcare cost problems. There remains a lot of work to be done, and while there is no foolproof plan, we are headed in the right direction. Placing emphasis on utilizing primary care physicians before seeking out specialized doctors will aid in creating a higher-performing healthcare system.   

In addition to the state, others are working on the cost issue at hand. The Moving to Value Alliance, in partnership with the Connecticut Joint Replacement Institute, the Connecticut Health Council, the Connecticut Business Group on Health and the Validation Institute are collaborating once again to present the third multi-stakeholder health care symposium, Moving to Value - Employers, Payers and Providers Disrupting the Healthcare System – 2020. The event is focused on the transition of healthcare from volume to value-based healthcare.   

It’s our main priority to keep you abreast of what’s happening with local legislation and how that will impact businesses across the state. To learn about how the upcoming political election may impact employers, check out our upcoming senior executives' event, Bold Perspectives: An Evening with James Carville & Mary Matalin.

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