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Sen. Needleman: COVID-19 April 8, 2020 Update — Food & Housing Assistance

From our State Senator, Norm Needleman.

I want to provide you with important updates on how we can support each other and receive help in these trying times. For those needing financial assistance, or those looking to support local organizations helping others, please utilize the following information.

Food Assistance

The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries continue to provide curbside grocery delivery at its five pantries, offering bagged groceries including fresh fruit, vegetables and grains, canned goods, protein, meat, eggs and often milk.

Higganum, Chester, Deep River, Centerbrook, Old Saybrook, Westbrook, Clinton and Lyme/Old Lyme school systems have bagged lunches available for children.

Meals on Wheels continues to operate; The Estuary also has grab and go lunches available for people over 60.

Town Social Services and town pantries in Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Haddam, Old Saybrook, Westbrook and Lyme/Old Lyme are still operating.

While the Old Saybrook Mobile Food Truck and United Way of Southeastern CT delivery options have been suspended, the Mobile Food Tuck of Clinton is still operating once per month.

With noticed increases in demand and decreases in resources, it is more important now than ever to support food pantries and food assistance organizations. Please contact your local organizations for information on how to donate.

Housing Assistance

Those seeking housing assistance should call 211 for information on immediate support. Shelters are open and workers continue to find ways to home people safely without risk of spreading infection.

United Way

To support families in need, or potentially find relief if you have lost employment, childcare or are homebound, please visit the Middlesex United Way at this link.

Gov. Lamont Conference Call For Employers

On Thursday, April 9, 2020 at 1 p.m., Governor Lamont will hold a statewide conference call for employers featuring officials from the federal Small Business Administration and the Connecticut Departments of Economic and Community Development, Banking and Insurance.

The call, scheduled to run from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., will cover topics including the Federal Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Grants, Connecticut initiatives to assist businesses and residents, mortgage deferment and assistance and health insurance grace periods. To join, call 888-456-0356 and enter passcode 2802806#.

Paycheck Protection Program Recorded Webinar

Earlier this week, Economic Innovation Group, or EIG, recorded a webinar on the Paycheck Protection Program, offering forgivable loans to small businesses hit hard by COVID-19. You can listen to a recording here and access a program overview and frequently asked questions here.

Access Health CT New Special Enrollment Period

Access Health CT announced it will continue to enroll uninsured state residents under the new special enrollment period until Friday, April 17. The special enrollment period was initially scheduled to end on April 2.

Coverage for individuals who enrolled during the initial special coverage period between March 19 and April 2 started on April 1.

The only way to sign up for the extended special enrollment period is by calling 1-855-365-2428. Enrollments between April 3 to 17 will have coverage take effect on Friday, May 1. To learn more about eligibility and how to enroll please visit: https://learn.accesshealthct.com/

ConnectiCare Benefits Updates

Employees covered by ConnectiCare can visit in-network health care or mental health clinicians from home at no charge. Working from home and social distancing is important, but physical and mental health care remains just as important during these challenging times. ConnectiCare members can talk to doctors and mental health clinicians from home without paying deductibles, copays or coinsurance if they see in-network providers. Visits can cover non-COVID injuries or illnesses through May 31.

Protections For Long-Term Care Facilities, Residents and Staff

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, state officials are working to protect long-term care facilities. Governor Lamont announced that, effective immediately, Connecticut’s 213 nursing homes will receive a 10 percent across-the-board increase in Medicaid payments to meet rising costs caused by the public health emergency, with payments applied toward employee wages, including staff retention bonuses, overtime and shift incentive payments, as well as costs related to visitor screenings, personal protective equipment and housekeeping supplies. This increase will run from April 1 to June 30, with an initial $11.6 million payment to be received by nursing homes on April 7.

Additionally, long-term care facilities seeking Department of Public Health designations to specialize in COVID-19 care will be eligible for per-day payments more than twice the average Medicaid daily rate. In addition, the same level of payment is available to facilities designated as suitable for re-opening for the purpose of serving residents with COVID-19 and who need nursing home care.

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