Last week, Comptroller Sean Scanlon rolled out the Paraeducator Deductible Assistance Program which will devote $5 million to providing financial assistance for paraeducators' health costs. This program was created through the hard work of paraeducators from across the state emailing their legislators and testifying in the Education Committee.
The Paraeducator Deductible Assistance Program is open to:
The Office of the State Comptroller expects payments to go out to the towns later this month; the towns will then distribute the money to more than 4,000 paraeducators across the state.
In addition to the subsidy program and again thanks to our work, the General Assembly and Governor Lamont created a paraeducator healthcare working group to develop legislative and policy recommendations to ensure that all paraeducators have access to high-quality, affordable health insurance. The working group includes union representation as well as staff from the Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange, the Office of Health Strategy, and the Comptroller's office. The working group has already started meeting and has until July 1, 2024 to present their recommendations.
This new program is a huge start, but there is much more work to be done. The appropriation for this healthcare stipend was only made for one year and the amount is not nearly enough to address all of the many issues paras have with accessing quality, affordable healthcare insurance. The 2024 Legislative Session is also just around the corner. We will need paras to testify at public hearings, send emails to their electeds, sign petitions, attend rallies and more! We can only be successful if we stand together and raise our collective voices!
As more information becomes available, we will be sure to update members, but in the meantime, please review the following documents from the Comptroller.