Connecticut residents are running out of time to sign up through the state’s online health insurance exchange for coverage starting in the new year. Access Health CT says the open enrollment period for Jan. 1 ends at midnight Friday. The agency plans to keep its call center open until 8 p.m. to assist with last-minute signups. Customers must also pay their first-month bills to insurers to ensure coverage in the new year. Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman stressed Thursday that elimination of the health insurance mandate in the new Republican tax bill does not take effect until 2019 and Connecticut residents are still required to have coverage in 2018.
PUERTO RICO BIKES
Several bicycling advocacy groups have teamed together to collect and refurbish bikes to send to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico and to give children relocating from that island to Connecticut. About 30 bikes have been collected and repaired for the project so far by BiCi Co. in Hartford, Bikes for Kids in Essex and the Bradley Street Bicycle Co-op in New Haven. About half of them, mostly mountain bikes, are being sent to Puerto Rico in a shipping container next week along with other supplies. They are heading to mountain towns where many roads are still largely inaccessible to motorized vehicles.
MISSING POLICE DOG
A Connecticut State Police bloodhound that went missing in a wooded area has been found alive and well. Police said Friday morning that the dog named Texas had been recovered. The dog was involved in a search Wednesday evening for a man with autism who had gone missing in Danbury near Wooster Mountain. During the search a handler lost his footing on the steep terrain and dropped the dog’s leash. Another bloodhound located the missing man who was brought safely out of the woods.
RI PENSION FUND
Rhode Island’s pension liability for state workers grew to over $5.33 billion this fiscal year. The larger deficit between the assets in the state’s $8.3 billion pension fund and the future retirement benefits promised current and former employees was the result of a number of factors. The Providence Journal reports the unfunded liability grew by a combined $699 million this year. The figures were released Friday by the state’s actuary to the state Retirement Board in Warwick, noting the unfunded liability for both state workers and teachers is expected to continue to grow until the 2019-2020 fiscal year.