New laws for 2018 affect event-goers, health insurers

(WTNH)–The state of Connecticut is ringing in the new year with some new laws. One of them includes an opportunity for you to get a new license plate. 21 years after they played their last game in Hartford, you can get a commemorative Hartford Whalers plate.

State representative and House Majority Leader Matt Ritter is one of the legislators who worked on that.

“The reason why I’m proud of it, other than being from Hartford and being a Hartford Whalers hockey fan, is a lot of the proceeds go to the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. So if you’re looking for something to buy, and make a donation to a great cause, that’s a win-win for everybody.”

Next up, thinking about being an Uber, Lyft, or taxi driver? New regulations require background checks on potential drivers for any service.

People convicted of crimes like DUI, sex assault or other violent acts in the last seven years are out.

Two new laws will change the way you buy concert or show tickets. Starting January 1, it will be illegal to use automated purchasing software to nab large numbers of tickets. These so-called ‘ticket bots’ would cause shows to sell out, leaving fans scrambling to find tickets on other sites for much higher prices.

“We’re just trying to be more consumer-friendly so at the end of the day, Connecticut families can go to shows and concerts without having to worry about kind of the secondary market taking over too much,” Ritter said.

Big changes are also coming for health insurers.

The first is a big step in combating the state’s growing opioid crisis. All health insurers will be required to cover costs related to treatment and rehabilitation. Ritter says the crisis remains a critical focus for lawmakers.

“Many insurers have covered it, but there were some gaps that we found, and one of the keys to treatment for anyone that is an addict or is abusing opioids is not just putting them in an emergency room and releasing them, but allowing for long term access to treatment, alternative care, alternative therapies,” Ritter said.

Women with cancer will also be able to get infertility treatments, as those used to be covered only for women with a “presumably healthy” status.

New regulations will also be put in place that ban the Department of Correction from placing anyone under 18 in solitary confinement, and finally, a law that has some retirees concerned they will be paying higher taxes on pension payments.

Pension taxes must be withheld, or those who receive them must pay a higher fee.

It wouldn’t be the first time that something went into law and there were errors that we sort of said there’s some retroactive ability to change things if anyone made mistakes or made overpayments or things like that.

Ritter says legislators will see how the laws play out over the next few months, and make changes if necessary.

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