Connecticut scuffles over medical imaging co-payments
Last week in Connecticut a dispute over consumer co-payment increases for medical images of all types, including MRI and ultrasound studies, came to a head as the state’s Insurance Commissioner Susan F. Cogswell was accused of going beyond her authority in approving the changes, according to an AP report.
A recent action by Cogswell allowed consumer co-pays to go up from 30 percent to 50 percent which could require patients to come up with potentially thousands of dollars each time they have an imaging procedure.
Connecticut Senate President Pro Tempore Donald E. Williams said that this change will particularly hurt cancer patients or others that require several MRIs yearly. Williams added that “Certainly in some cases, people will be discouraged from utilizing that technology that in instances could save their lives,” according to the AP.
The Department of Insurance has stated that the change in policy was provoked by market circumstances and that Commissioner Cogwell acted well within her authority in ordering it.
The state is considering legislation that would put caps on co-payments. One such bill being considered by the Public Health Committee would lay out rules designed to shield chronically ill patients with $50 per visit fees and maxing out at $400 a year. Another bill sitting in the Insurance Committee would have a ceiling of $750 in co-payments each year, the AP reports.
Several senators have called for Commissioner Cogwell’s power to be rescinded in this matter and for a new rule-making process to be undertaken that allows consumers a chance to have input. There are plans for further meetings to push towards a resolution to the disputed fee change.