Rell Blocks Conn. Wellness Program Bill

July 8, 2009 ( - Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell has vetoed a bill mandating that group health insurance policies offer a health wellness program providing incentives to participate.

Rell contended in a Web statement about her veto of several bills, including H.B. 5021, that the wellness program provision and others requiring coverage for a variety of medical supplies would have produced too much of a financial burden on taxpayers, policyholders, and employers. She also asserted that municipalities could bear a heavy burden as well when they enter into new health insurance contracts after January 1, 2010.

“The simple truth is that we cannot afford this bill,” Rell said, in the statement. “It would be fiscally irresponsible to burden our recovery with these significant future costs.”

In addition to the wellness program section, the measure would have increased the coverage limit for mandatory ostomy supplies and add mandatory coverage for prosthetics, wigs for hair loss associated with alopecia areata, hearing aids for children between ages 12 and 18, and leukocyte testing for bone marrow transplants.

“Our national and state economies have experienced significant turmoil of late and projections of future revenue indicate that we will not quickly return to the days of a booming economy,” Rell said. “We must therefore be fiscally cautious and prudent so as not to place roadblocks in our way of eventual recovery.”