Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Health Insurance Program on the Rocks

Free clinic representatives and health care activists are urging four Pennsylvania-based insurers to continue funding adultBasic, an insurance program for low-income individuals.

Highmark, Inc., Capital Blue Cross, Hospital Service Association of Northeastern Pennsylvania, and Independence Blue Cross agreed to fund adultBasic from 2005 through December of 2010.

In 2009, the program cost about $125 million, insuring about 46,000 Pennsylvanians who earned between $10,000-20,000 per year.

David Ninehouser, a volunteer with the Pennsylvania Health Access Network, says these organizations are required to make these kind charitable donations to retain their status as nonprofit organizations.

Ninehouser says even during the recession, “we have nonprofit insurance entities in Pennsylvania who… still posting huge surpluses. Even though they’re making these huge surpluses, they’re looking at walking away from their commitment to fund adultBasic at the end of this year. We can’t let that happen.”

A bill in the state House would require the Blues to continue funding adultBasic by extending the contract until federal health care reforms take effect.

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