OHA: 2017 Listening Sessions


Share your story about your challenges affording healthcare

Why OHA is Hosting This Series

The cost of health care continues to be a monumental barrier for many in need of basic health care.  Affordability of health care services, prescriptions and health insurance premiums and cost shares (deductibles, co-pays, etc.) remains a fundamental challenge in the realization of a healthcare system that serves all of us. 

In an effort to better understand the healthcare cost challenges that Connecticut residents are facing, and to help inform effective policy solutions to address these issues, the Office of the Healthcare Advocate, in partnership with other advocacy organizations, is convening a series of listening sessions across the state to gather your stories, discuss your ideas on how to reduce costs, and to discuss together questions about healthcare costs in our state.

While we hope and expect to hear about all aspects of Connecticut’s healthcare system, a primary focus of this series will be on the affordability of healthcare, including both the cost of health insurance and the underlying high cost of healthcare services.  In recent years, the cost of having and using health insurance has, in itself, become a barrier for many people to receive timely, effective and quality health care.  Between 2006 and 2015, the average portion of an individual’s income that goes towards paying health insurance premiums and deductibles increased from 6.5% to 10.1%, and this trend continues to increase.[i]  In 2015, Connecticut employees paid the highest average annual premium in the nation.

This is unsustainable.

Although Connecticut has a robust insurance premium rate review process (learn more about this process here) that seeks to ensure that insurance premiums are appropriate, the Department of Insurance is limited by statute in the factors it can consider in its review and approval of insurer’s requested rates, so the Department does not consider affordability in its review.  We believe that the high cost of health insurance, as well as the underlying issue of the high cost of healthcare services and drugs, are matters of great public importance, and both should be discussed transparently and with opportunities for formal public input by you, the consumer.

One of the goals of this initiative is to gather data about the importance of affordability to Connecticut’s residents, in order to support policy change, whether in the insurance rate process or elsewhere.

How You Can Participate

We want to hear from you!  Your stories, experiences and ideas are critical to Connecticut's ability to develop effective policy that addresses the needs and challenges that we face in our healthcare system. 

That's why we are hosting Connecticut Speaks Out on Healthcare Costs -- a series of consumer forums where the main focus will be you, the consumer.   You can find an updated listing of where and when we will have these community forums here.   

(Also, use the same link above if you plan to attend a session and wish to pre-register or to report your story and fill out our surveys before you arrive -- both of which are appreciated, but not required.) 


What If I Can't Attend, or Want to Share Another Way?                                                                              

Check our website.  We may be planning another forum near you, or if not, we might still be able to come to your community.  You can request that someone from our agency contact you to discuss options for advocating for your community.   Request for Outreach

Perhaps you can't attend a forum, or did, but didn't have a chance to share your story and ideas.  We have a series of surveys designed to capture your story and your experiences here -  Survey Questions & Share Your Story 

A Guide to Some Confusing Terms

Sometimes, as we talk about health care and health insurance, it can become confusing.   Depending who you're talking to, or who's talking to you, the terms or concepts may be unfamiliar, or different than those you use to talk about the same issue.   We've tried to briefly explore some key terms and ideas that are used throughout discussions about health insurance, available here, and some of the basics of how health insurance works here.

Pre-Register for an Event (Pre-Registration not at all required -- but encouraged)

No events currently open for pre-registration.  Check back later!

[i] S. R. Collins, D.C. Radley, M.Z. Gunja, and S. Beutel, The Slowdown in Employer Insurance Cost Growth: Why Many Workers Still Feel the Pinch, The Commonwealth Fund, October 2016.