California lawmakers are considering a new health insurance system that will help people obtain coverage they could not afford otherwise. Called the Basic Health Program, the initiative is designed with lower-income households in mind. The program is meant to serve a stepping stone between Medicaid and private insurance plans by offering alternatives to expensive coverage plans offered by most insurance companies. Legislators are currently examining the benefits such a program would have for state residents and how those benefits would affect the state’s insurance industry.
Many families in California cannot afford health insurance, and most are not eligible to receive coverage through Medicaid. Those not receiving insurance through an employer are often left stranded. The Basic Health Programs seeks to solve this problem by offering health insurance policies whose premiums hover around $30 a month. The program has already found support amongst consumers, but legislators are slow to warm to the concept as it may clash with the coming insurance exchange.
California is already well on its way to establishing a health insurance exchange that will provide affordable coverage to those that cannot afford insurance plans from private companies. Some lawmakers are considering the Basic Health Program an unnecessary precursor to the exchange program as it will be obsolete as soon as the exchange is fully operational in 2014. Supporters of the program, however, say that consumers should not be made to wait until the exchange is ready to gain access to insurance that could help them receive desperately needed medical care.