Pennsylvania’s adultBasic health insurance program is in danger if being terminated as it faces steep shortfalls in funding. The program is one of the few entirely state-funded insurance programs that cater to low-income adults and families that do not qualify for Medicaid. Currently, 42,000 people are covered by the program, with another 500,000 on the waiting list, hoping to get coverage. If the program is terminated, they will have no insurance until the Medicaid program is expanded in 2014.
AdultBasic has been facing complications since last year and the program was slated for expiration last December, but insurers have funneled millions of dollars into the system in order to expend its lifespan. However, Governor Tom Corbet has announced that the program has no money left and that coverage for all participants will cease on February 28.
The search for alternatives is on as adultBasic comes to an end. Some state officials are suggesting spending more money on community health centers that offer affordable care. Blue Cross has agreed to take on those losing coverage, but their Special Care plan, which is designed to help low-income individuals, does not have government funding and may still be too costly.
Pennsylvania has failed in past attempts to transfer adultBasic policyholders into high-risk pools sponsored by the federal government under the new health care law. The group takes on applicants regardless of their medical histories and those that have been denied coverage by other insurers. The requirement, however, is that enrollees must be uninsured for at least six months – leaving those on adultBasic still without a viable option for insurance.
Legislatures and insurers are working together to try and solve the issue and are making efforts to reach a solution before time runs out.