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These Are The New Laws Affecting Your Health In Connecticut - Patch.com

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CONNECTICUT — A slew of new laws goes into effect in Connecticut on Jan. 1. It may be a sign of the times that so many have to do with health, and health insurance, issues.

Stepchildren, doctors and living organ donors all stand to benefit from the new legislation, whereas insurance companies get the fuzzy end of the lollipop more often than not.

Public Act No. 20-4 requires pharmacists, in certain emergency situations, to prescribe and dispense to a patient up to a 30-day supply of certain diabetes related drugs and devices once in a 12-month period. The new law also limits how much pharmacists can charge for the emergency drugs and supplies in these situations, and expands the state's prescription drug monitoring program to include them. Certain insurers will be required to over emergency diabetes-related drugs and devices prescribed and dispensed by a pharmacist; expand coverage for diabetes screening, drugs, and devices; and limit many out-of-pocket costs. Check with your insurance provider to see if you benefit.

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The controversial Public Act 21-6 goes into effect on Jan. 1. The new law will eliminate the religious exemption from immunization requirements for students attending public and private schools, including child care centers and group and family day care homes.

Lawmakers in Hartford want it known that pulse oximeters, devices that estimate the percentage of oxygen in a person's blood, are more likely to produce an inaccurate blood oxygen level reading for people of color as compared to the white population. Under Public Act 21-57, the Department of Public Health must ensure that health care providers, insurers, other health carriers, pharmacists, pharmacies, and pharmacy benefits managers doing business in the state are aware of the discrepancy.

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Ever find yourself shaking your head when one of your in-network prescription medications skyrockets in price, or, worse, is no longer available? There will be fewer of those pharmacy nightmares after Public Act 21-96 goes into effect on Jan. 1. The new law limits such shenanigans in most circumstances, and requires the Office of Health Strategy to conduct a study to determine the financial impact of the act's requirements on the cost of commercial health plans in the state, at least annually.

Insurance

Currently, policies issued by health insurance companies in Connecticut do not explicitly apply to stepchildren or other dependent children and may terminate coverage for residents before age 26 if they obtained coverage through their own employment. Public Act 21-149 will require certain health, dental, and vision insurance policies to continue coverage for a child, stepchild, or other dependent child until the policy anniversary date on or after the date the child turns age 26.

Step kids may be catching a break, but those who rely upon antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications or mood stabilizers may find fewer pills left in the bottle at the end of the month. A new law will prohibit certain health insurance policies requiring health care providers to prescribe a supply of outpatient psychotropic drugs greater than what they deem clinically appropriate. The new legislation also prohibits mental health care benefits provided under state law, with state funds, or to state employees, from requiring a health care provider to prescribe such drug in clinically excessive quantities as well.

Long-term care insurers who file for a rate increase of 20 percent or more must spread the premium increase over at least three years. A new law going into effect in January also prohibits them from filing an additional rate increase during this period. Policyholders faced with such an increase will also have the option of reducing the benefits they receive in lieu of paying into the price hike, come 2022.

Living organ donors have been in insurance companies' crosshairs for a while, and a new law going into effect in January has been written to change that. Public Act 21-156 prohibits an insurer issuing, delivering, or amending a life, long-term care, or disability-income protection insurance policy from declining or limiting coverage solely because the insured is a living organ donor. Insurers will no longer be able to discriminate in offering, issuing, amending, or cancelling a policy, or in setting prices, conditions, or coverage of the policy, solely because the insured is a living organ donor. It also prohibits the insured from donating an organ as a condition of maintaining coverage.

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