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October 18, 2021 POWER 25 HEALTHCARE

2021 Power 25 Health Care: Susan Halpin

One of the most contentious issues at the state Capitol in recent years has been an effort by some Democratic lawmakers and advocates to create a public health insurance option for small employers and others with the hopes of driving down the cost of health care.

Susan Halpin

It’s been blocked on every occasion, in part by the state’s powerful insurance industry.

Directing the Connecticut lobbying interests of Cigna, Aetna and a handful of other major commercial health carriers operating in the state is the Connecticut Association of Health Plans (CAHP), managed by Executive Director Susan Halpin, who is also a lobbyist with Hartford law firm Robinson+Cole.

As major employers, health insurers wield significant power in the halls of the state Capitol and they’ve been able to fend off a public option by touting the number of people they employ in the state and their overall economic impact.

Most recently insurers have taken criticism for requesting double-digit rate increases for 2022, including an average 12.9% prorated increase on small group plans. The Connecticut Insurance Department pared back those rate requests.

Halpin defended her members this way:

“As high cost drugs come to market, treatments like gene therapy develop, reimbursement rates to doctors and hospitals rise, new legislative mandates are passed, additional taxes and assessments are imposed, and utilization of services goes up, so too will the cost of coverage,” Halpin said in a statement to the CTNewsJunkie. “The unpredictability of COVID adds an additional layer of complexity.”

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