CT telehealth law made permanent, helps senior health access

Edwin J. Viera

Newly signed Connecticut laws can improve access and the quality of health care for seniors.

One significant change is extending a pandemic-era telehealth law slated to sunset this month. The law authorizes more types of health care providers to offer telehealth services and lets out-of-state authorized providers practice in Connecticut.

Nora Duncan, state director for AARP Connecticut, said the law also makes it a cost-effective health care option.

“You can’t charge an uninsured patient more than the Medicare reimbursement rate for telehealth services, for instance,” Duncan explained. “An HMO, for instance, can’t reduce the amount of reimbursement they pay to telehealth providers for covered services appropriately provided through telehealth instead of in person.”

She added the law prevents reimbursement rates from biasing providers for or against telehealth. Surveys show seniors use telehealth more with 70% of adults 50 and older saying they are comfortable with the services. But some older adults prefer in-person visits for diagnosis accuracy, thoroughness, and providing a personal touch.

According to the 2021 American Community Survey (ACS), there are approximately 637,113 people of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity in Connecticut, which is 17.7% of the state’s total population.

In 2019, Hispanic Americans made up 9% of the older population. By 2060, the percentage is projected to be 21%. The number of Hispanic Americans age 85 and older is projected to increase from 509,096 in 2019 to 3.4 million in 2060.

Some bills failed to pass through the General Assembly. One bill would have put enforcement mechanisms in place for the My CT Savings program. It would require businesses with five or more employees to provide payroll deductions into retirement savings.

Duncan emphasized compliance with the program is important.

“Employees don’t have to participate in this program, they can opt out, but employers do need to offer it,” Duncan noted. “I think a stick associated with failing to comply with the law is important and we’ll be back to get that done next year.”

While the bill passed through the Senate, it did not make it through the House. Along with reintroducing the bill, Duncan added in the 2025 legislative session, work will be done to build off other legislation like continuing to improve the quality of care in nursing homes.

Para leer este artículo en español, haga clic AQUÍ.

Cover Photo: An AARP survey found only 9% of adults age 50 and older would not consider a telehealth visit over an in-person one under any circumstance. (Adobe Stock)

Public Notes: CT telehealth law made permanent, helps senior health access was first published by PNS, and was republished with permission.

Part of Connecticut Latino News’ mission is to amplify the work of others in providing greater visibility and voice to Hispanic, Latino communities.