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Deadline Hits for Husky Clients to Change to New Plans
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Some low-income families in the Husky program have to switch providers networks by February 1, as two existing managed care plans phase out of the program. The changes could require Husky clients to switch doctors or hospitals, depending on which new plan they join.

At a press conference, Rep. Andy Fleischmann, a Democrat from West Hartford, said he expects trouble as Husky families realize their plans have changed.  

"We're starting to hear from people now, because this is another in a series of decisions that happened ad hoc, last minute, without concern for the affected population."

About two-thirds of those affected have already picked a new network. Department of Social Services Spokesman David Dearborn says most of them chose the older, nonprofit option, called Community Health Network.

But the 80,000 or so left, who did not sign up before the deadline, will not end up in that plan. Dearborn says they'll be defaulted into one of the two for-profit networks that are just getting up and running.

"The other two plans, which have mightily built up their networks over the last six months or so, they don't have anywhere near the market share that Community Heath Network has, so it struck us as logical that the automatic assignment would be limited at this point to the two newer health plans."

Democratic lawmakers have expressed concern for months about whether those new networks, run by Aetna and United Health Care, have enough doctors and hospitals signed up. The federal government also weighed in at one point, but has since declared the new networks adequate. Still, Connecticut's entire Congressional delegation asked that the federal government this week to ensure that Husky clients' access to care is uninterrupted.