CHAPTER 319bb
SERVICES FOR THE ELDERLY

Table of Contents

Sec. 17b-420. Commission on Aging. Established. Membership. Duties.
Sec. 17b-427. (Formerly Sec. 17a-314). CHOICES health insurance assistance program. Definitions. Requirements. Reports. Responsibilities of hospitals re Medicare patients.

      Sec. 17b-420. Commission on Aging. Established. Membership. Duties. (a) There is established a Commission on Aging to advocate on behalf of elderly persons on issues and programs of concern to the elderly including, but not limited to, health care, nutrition, housing, employment, transportation, legal assistance and economic security. The commission shall be composed of seventeen voting members who are knowledgeable about areas of interest to the elderly to be appointed as follows: Five by the Governor, two by the president pro tempore of the Senate, two by the speaker of the House of Representatives, two by the majority leader of the Senate, two by the majority leader of the House of Representatives, two by the minority leader of the Senate and two by the minority leader of the House of Representatives. The initial appointments to the commission shall be made by August 15, 1993. The initial term for three of the members appointed by the Governor and the members appointed by the president pro tempore of the Senate, majority leader of the House of Representatives and minority leader of the Senate shall expire August 15, 1997, and the initial term for two of the members appointed by the Governor and the members appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives, majority leader of the Senate and minority leader of the House of Representatives shall expire August 15, 1995. Thereafter, all members shall be appointed for a term of four years from August fifteenth in the year of their appointment. Members shall be limited to two consecutive terms. The commission shall include the following ex-officio nonvoting members: The chairpersons and ranking members of the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to human services, the chairpersons and ranking members of the select committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to aging, the Commissioners of Social Services, Public Health, Mental Health and Addiction Services, Mental Retardation, Economic and Community Development and Transportation, the Insurance Commissioner and the Labor Commissioner. The chairperson of the commission shall be elected from among its members. Members of the commission shall receive no compensation for their services, but shall be reimbursed for any necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.

      (b) The Commission on Aging shall: (1) Prepare and issue an annual report to the Governor, General Assembly and the legislative body of each municipality in the state on its findings and recommendations concerning services for the elderly in the state; (2) conduct annual public hearings on issues affecting the well-being of the elderly in the state; (3) meet regularly with representatives of state agencies to review and comment on the policies and procedures of the department concerning the elderly; (4) review and comment on the budget of the State Unit on Aging within the Department of Social Services; (5) meet as needed with state officials to discuss issues affecting the elderly; (6) conduct studies and report on issues affecting the elderly; and (7) disseminate information to the business community, education community, state and local governments and the media on the nature and scope of the problems faced by the elderly. The commission may accept any gifts, donations or bequests and may enter into contracts for any of the purposes of this section.

      (c) There shall be an executive director of the Commission on Aging who shall be appointed by the commission. There may be additional staff within available appropriations. The commission shall be within the Legislative Department for administrative purposes only.

      (P.A. 93-262, S. 5, 87; 93-381, S. 9, 39; 93-435, S. 59, 95; P.A. 95-250, S. 1; 95-257, S. 11, 12, 21, 58; P.A. 05-77, S. 1.)

      History: P.A. 93-262 effective July 1, 1993; P.A. 93-381 and P.A. 93-435 authorized substitution of commissioner and department of public health and addiction services for commissioner and department of health services and executive director of Connecticut alcohol and drug abuse commission, effective July 1, 1993; P.A. 95-250 replaced Commissioner and Department of Housing with Commissioner and Department of Economic and Community Development; P.A. 95-257 replaced Commissioner and Department of Public Health and Addiction Services with Commissioner and Department of Public Health and replaced Commissioner and Department of Mental Health with Commissioner and Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, effective July 1, 1995 (Revisor's note: In Subsec. (a), references to "Commissioner of Insurance" and "Commissioner of Labor" were replaced editorially by the Revisors with "Insurance Commissioner" and "Labor Commissioner" for consistency with customary statutory usage and minor changes in wording were made to accommodate the changes); P.A. 05-77 amended Subsec. (a) by increasing composition of commission from eleven to seventeen voting members and increasing total number of appointments to the commission by legislative leaders from six to twelve, by specifying that chairpersons and ranking members of aging committee and human services committee are ex-officio voting members of commission, by specifying that commission chairperson shall be elected from among commission members, by removing provision re Governor's selection of chairperson and by removing obsolete language re initial organizational meeting, amended Subsec. (b)(3) by requiring that commission meet regularly with representatives of state agencies and eliminating requirement re meeting with commissioner and head of Division of Elderly Services of Department of Social Services, amended Subsec. (b)(4) by replacing "Division of Elderly Services of" with "State Unit on Aging within", amended Subsec. (b) by authorizing commission to enter into contracts for purposes of section, and amended Subsec. (c) by substituting "Legislative Department" for "Department of Social Services", effective July 1, 2005.

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      Sec. 17b-427. (Formerly Sec. 17a-314). CHOICES health insurance assistance program. Definitions. Requirements. Reports. Responsibilities of hospitals re Medicare patients. (a) As used in this section:

      (1) "CHOICES" means Connecticut's programs for health insurance assistance, outreach, information and referral, counseling and eligibility screening;

      (2) "CHOICES health insurance assistance program" means the federally recognized state health insurance assistance program funded pursuant to P.L. 101-508 and administered by the Department of Social Services, in conjunction with the area agencies on aging and the Center for Medicare Advocacy, that provides free information and assistance related to health insurance issues and concerns of older persons and other Medicare beneficiaries in Connecticut; and

      (3) "Medicare organization" means any corporate entity or other organization or group that contracts with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to provide health care services to Medicare beneficiaries in this state as an alternative to the traditional Medicare fee-for-service plan.

      (b) The Department of Social Services shall administer the CHOICES health insurance assistance program, which shall be a comprehensive Medicare advocacy program that provides assistance to Connecticut residents who are Medicare beneficiaries. The program shall: (1) Maintain a toll-free telephone number to provide advice and information on Medicare benefits, the Medicare appeals process and other health insurance matters applicable to Medicare beneficiaries at least five days per week during normal business hours; (2) provide information, advice and representation, where appropriate, concerning the Medicare appeals process, by a qualified attorney or paralegal at least five days per week during normal business hours; (3) prepare and distribute written materials to Medicare beneficiaries, their families, senior citizens and organizations regarding Medicare benefits; (4) develop and distribute a Connecticut Medicare consumers guide, after consultation with the Insurance Commissioner and other organizations involved in servicing, representing or advocating for Medicare beneficiaries, which shall be available to any individual, upon request, and shall include: (A) Information permitting beneficiaries to compare their options for delivery of Medicare services; (B) information concerning the Medicare plans available to beneficiaries, including the traditional Medicare fee-for-service plan and the benefits and services available through each plan; (C) information concerning the procedure to appeal a denial of care and the procedure to request an expedited appeal of a denial of care; (D) information concerning private insurance policies and federal and state-funded programs that are available to supplement Medicare coverage for beneficiaries; (E) a worksheet for beneficiaries to use to evaluate the various plans; and (F) any other information the program deems relevant to beneficiaries; and (5) include any functions the department deems necessary to conform to federal grant requirements.

      (c) The Insurance Commissioner, in cooperation with, or on behalf of, the Commissioner of Social Services, may require each Medicare organization to: (1) Annually submit to the commissioner any data, reports or information relevant to plan beneficiaries; and (2) at any other times at which changes occur, submit information to the commissioner concerning current benefits, services or costs to beneficiaries. Such information may include information required under section 38a-478c.

      (d) Each Medicare organization that fails to file the annual data, reports or information requested pursuant to subsection (c) of this section shall pay a late fee of one hundred dollars per day for each day from the due date of such data, reports or information to the date of filing. Each Medicare organization that files incomplete annual data, reports or information shall be so informed by the Insurance Commissioner, shall be given a date by which to remedy such incomplete filing and shall pay said late fee commencing from the new due date.

      (e) Not later than June 1, 2001, and annually thereafter, the Insurance Commissioner, in conjunction with the Healthcare Advocate, shall submit to the Governor and to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to human services and insurance and to the select committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to aging, a list of those Medicare organizations that have failed to file any data, reports or information requested pursuant to subsection (c) of this section.

      (f) All hospitals, as defined in section 19a-490, which treat persons covered by Medicare Part A shall: (1) Notify incoming patients covered by Medicare of the availability of the services established pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, (2) post or cause to be posted in a conspicuous place therein the toll-free number established pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, and (3) provide each Medicare patient with the toll-free number and information on how to access the CHOICES program.

      (P.A. 89-135, S. 1, 6; P.A. 93-262, S. 1, 87; P.A. 01-39, S. 1, 3; P.A. 03-19, S. 46; P.A. 05-102, S. 2.)

      History: P.A. 93-262 authorized substitution of commissioner and department of social services for commissioner and department on aging, effective July 1, 1993; Sec. 17a-314 transferred to Sec. 17b-427 in 1995; P.A. 01-39 added new Subsec. (a) defining "CHOICES", "CHOICES health insurance assistance program" and "Medicare organization", redesignated existing Subsec. (a) as Subsec. (b) and amended by adding requirements that department administer the CHOICES health insurance assistance program, that program maintain a toll-free telephone number to provide advice and information on other health insurance matters applicable to Medicare beneficiaries at least five days per week during normal business hours, that program provide information, advice and representation concerning Medicare appeals process by a qualified attorney or paralegal, that program develop and distribute a Connecticut Medicare consumers guide, and that program include any functions department deems necessary to conform to federal grant requirements, added Subsec. (c) allowing Insurance Commissioner to require each Medicare organization to submit information, added Subsec. (d) re payment of late fees, added Subsec. (e) requiring Insurance Commissioner to submit an annual list of Medicare organizations that fail to file information and redesignated existing Subsec. (b) as Subsec. (f) and amended by changing internal references for consistency with section and making technical changes, effective May 31, 2001; P.A. 03-19 replaced "Health Care Financing Administration" with "Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services" in Subsec. (a)(3), effective May 12, 2003; P.A. 05-102 amended Subsec. (e) by renaming the Managed Care Ombudsman the Healthcare Advocate.

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