Access Health CT program aims to reduce uninsured rate and health disparities

MERIDEN – The state health insurance exchange recently launched a free program to help individuals become licensed insurance brokers in an effort to reduce uninsured rates and address health disparities .

A comprehensive study found significant health care disparities in the state, according to Tammy Hendricks, director of health equity and outreach for Access Health CT, the state’s insurance marketplace. His department was created to solve the problem.

“This program aims to provide opportunities for members of underserved communities, but it’s actually designed to address health disparities,” Hendricks said.

Hendricks explained that anyone 18 or older with a high school diploma can apply to receive the training, regardless of experience. .

The academy will initially train 100 brokers. Some of the classes, which begin June 1, will be in person in the greater Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport areas. There is also a mentorship aspect to the program.

For Hendricks, awareness is also important.

“The brokers academy program is great, but what I want most of all is for…minorities to really pay attention to what’s going on in terms of health in our communities,” said- she declared.

What is happening locally?

Thirteen percent of adults in Meriden lack health insurance, according to a 2021 equity profile released by Data Haven, a New Haven-based nonprofit, with black and Latino residents disproportionately affected. .

“Due to differences in benefits, income, and eligibility factors, blacks and especially Latinos are less likely to have health insurance than whites,” according to the profile.

Statewide, nearly 20 percent of Latinos and nearly 10 percent of black residents lack health insurance.

Local voices

Mark Kosnoff, executive director of United Action CT, said he was always supportive of initiatives focused on reducing health disparities. United Action CT — an interfaith, multiracial, and multilingual organization — encourages social justice initiatives, according to its website.

“Even though I support this plan, the state and our nation still have to deal with the high cost of health care,” Kosnoff said. “I’m concerned that despite these new brokers, many people in underserved communities are still unable to afford health insurance.”

Meriden Deputy Mayor Michael Cardona, also a city council member, said he was “definitely supportive” of efforts to reduce health disparities and the number of uninsured people in the state.

“I think this should be a priority at the federal and state levels of government,” Cardona said. “We will need to monitor the data closely in the future to see if this program is achieving its goals.”

Marie Yardis, director of access to care for Community Health Center Inc., said the organization’s certified application counselors under Access Health cannot advise patients on which insurance plan to choose. , but only educate them about the options.

“We rely on brokers to provide support to our patients in decision making because we are limited in this area,” Yardis said. “Having additional brokers would definitely support our efforts to sign people up…”

David Broder, a broker at Has Insurance Solutions in Meriden, said more brokers are needed to help people navigate the “deep and confusing waters” of health insurance.

“I think having more brokers would allow more people to have access to the right kind of health insurance,” he said.

The Broker Academy application is available online at Those without access to a computer can visit one of the Access Health CT Navigator sites for more information and to apply. The sites are at Project Access New Haven, 63 York St., New Haven, and Community Renewal Team, 300 Market St, Hartford.

[email protected]: @KarlaSantosNews

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