Insurance and Real Estate Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5963

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING TREATMENT OR CARE PROVIDED BY RELIGIOUS NONMEDICAL PROVIDERS UNDER HEALTH INSURANCE POLICIES OR HEALTH BENEFIT PLANS.

Vote Date:

3/7/2017

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable

PH Date:

2/7/2017

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Insurance & Real Estate Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

The bill intends to allow health insurance plans to cover religious nonmedical health care services to accommodate those who choose to use these types of treatments without the burden of having to pay all of the expenses out of pocket.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Rep. Brenda Kupchick, 132nd Dsitrict, submitted testimony in support of the bill stating that the legislation creates a fair process to provide medical coverage for citizens that choose alternative medical treatments.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Linda Ross, Legislative and Media Spokesperson, Christian Science in CT, submitted testimony highlighting the fact that the proposal does not evoke and mandates on carriers and the bill simply makes it clear that health plans are allowed to cover religious nonmedical services. The testimony also described the personal story of its proponent where she was involved in a car accident and used nonmedical procedures to treat her injuries.

Leslie Connery, Government Relations Counsel, Christian Science Church, submitted testimony stating that the proposed legislation is not a mandate and the language merely clarifies that health plans that wish to cover nonmedical services will be allowed to utilize appropriate nonmedical criteria for processing and validating claims. The testimony noted the importance of ensuring patient-centered care that encompasses one's right to choose what care that may be.

Mary Beeman, Guilford, CT

Cherry Camporiale, Stratford, CT

Roz Gutellius, Madison, CT

Ted Gutellius, Madison, CT

Patricia Hickey

All the parties above submitted testimony describing their personal connections to the use of Christian Science treatments and how important it is to allow insurers to cover such services.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Connecticut Association of Health Plans, submitted testimony stating the legislation is not necessary due to the fact that carriers are able to choose to include such providers in their networks currently.

Sarah Croucher, NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut, submitted testimony cautioning the implementation of this bill, referencing the tight federal restrictions governing Religious Nonmedical Health Care Institutions. There is a concern that religious organizations that provide these nonmedical service may use the reimbursements they receive to gain general funding, not used for the purposes of treating patients.

Reported by: Matt Hoey

Date: 3/31/17