Democratic leaders in the State Senate are trying to come up with a plan to prevent AdultBasic, a health insurance program for low income Pennsylvanians from running out.
AdultBasic is funded through tobacco settlement money, and contributions from Pennsylvania’s four Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance companies.
The Blues’ agreement with the state has expired and the state has failed to negotiate a renewal so the program is likely to stop at the end of February.
Governor Tom Corbett plans to offer AdultBasic enrollees a spot in the providers’ “Special Care” program, but health care advocates say that program is more expensive and allows just 4 doctor's visits a year.
AdultBasic was created in 2001 to provide health insurance for state residents ages 19 through 64 who meet income-eligibility requirements, with a monthly premium of $36 per person. Special Care’s rates start at 80.
Senate Democratic leader Jay Costa of Allegheny County says he' sent a letter to legislative leaders and the Corbett Administration asking for a meeting to discuss alternatives....
"We don't think we are out of policy options and we need more substantive discussion with legislators on both sides of the aisle, and in both chambers, to resolve the AdultBasic funding crisis. The impact of failing to look at all alternatives will be devastating to those families who rely on this insurance."
The AdultBasic program currently covers 41,953 state residents, and there is a waiting list of 478,735. That waiting list more than doubled between January 2009 and January 2010, creating an estimated three-year wait.