Hartford Business Journal

February 15, 2016

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G R E AT E R H A R T F O R D ' S B U S I N E S S N E W S w w w. H a r t f o rd B u s i n e s s . c o m For more B2B news visit FEBRUARY 15, 2016 Volume 24, Number 11 $3.00 Subscribe online Friday, March 18th, 2016 8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Hartford Hilton L E A R N I N N O V A T E C O L L A B O R A T E S A V E SUMMIT ANNUAL 's Index ■ Week in Review: PG. 6 ■ Q&A: PG. 8 ■ The List: PG. 10 ■ Deal Watch: PG. 12 ■ Movers & Shakers: PG. 18 ■ Opinion & Commentary: PG. 20 Foggy Future Vaping retailers and manufacturers are trying to fight what they call misconceived notions about e-cigarettes and other electronic smoking products, just as new state regulations are about to hit the industry. PG. 3 Missed Opportunity Connecticut's TV and radio industries precariously expect to earn little or no revenue from this year's presidential election, even as candidates pour tens of millions of dollars nationally into political advertising. Find out why. PG. 8 NONPROFITS on NOTICE Arts, tourism industries face budget cuts, tighter scrutiny By Matt Pilon mpilon@HartfordBusiness.com I t's unlikely to be a good year for Connecti- cut nonprofits that receive state contracts and grants, as tax averse lawmakers seek to balance a nearly $570 million fiscal 2017 budget deficit with steep spending cuts. Those sweating the outcome of the leg- islative session run the gamut, but Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's budget proposal singles out funding for 53 arts, tourism and labor programs, which face steep cuts and com- petition for a smaller pool of money. His budget proposes a 25 percent cut to $21.2 million in funding for performing arts centers like The Bushnell, the Connecticut Science Center, Mystic Aquarium, arts councils and festivals, and various other programs. Money to support an incumbent worker training program is also at risk. But the concern for nonprofits is not just about reduced funding. Malloy also wants to consolidate oversight of that shrinking pool of money, which would be reduced to $15.8 million, from several state agencies — includ- ing the Department of Economic and Com- munity Development (DECD) and the Depart- ment of Labor — to the Comptroller's office, tightening scrutiny over the funding to ensure grants go to organizations that deserve it. "One of the key principles of this budget is Obamacare brokers, insurer dispute commissions By Matt Pilon mpilon@HartfordBusiness.com A fledgling Connecticut effort to rely more heavily on private insurance brokers to boost enrollments in Obamacare health plans has resulted in a bitter dispute over com- missions that could end up in court. The disagreement emerged after Farm- ington health insurer Connecticare recently informed four high-volume brokerage agencies that their commissions for bringing customers to the state's online exchange, Access Health CT, would be 25 percent lower than what bro- kers say their con- tracts stipulated. The exact amount of monthly commis- sion payments in dis- pute is unclear, but it could total upwards of $500,000 over the next year. The clash emerg- es on the heels of the most successful enrollment period ever for the state's exchange, which announced last week that it now has just over 116,000 com- mercial plan members. It also puts Access Health in an awkward posi- tion, forcing it to help mediate a dispute between the brokers that helped it reach record enrollment and the exchange's most prolific insurer. Connecticare has boosted its exchange market share to 54 percent of all commercial enrollments, up from 42 percent in early 2015, according to Access Health. The four insurance agencies involved in the dispute are known as "lead brokers." They were tapped by Access Health in 2015 to handle high volumes of enrollment referrals from the exchange's call center and other sources. Col- lectively, South Windsor's Crystal Financial, Cromwell's Health Markets, Hartford's Main Street Insurance, and Bridgeport's Premier Advisors enrolled or reenrolled nearly 19,000 Continued on page 16 P H O T O | P A U L C O L T A S P H O T O S | C O N T R I B U T E D Continued on page 14 Broker Jennifer Lovett could be out $110,000. Tourism venues around Connecticut, including the Palace Theater (top), Mystic Aquarium and Mark Twain House (bottom, left to right) may have to fight for a smaller state funding pool next year.

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