Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Butler County Offers Basic Health Care Coverage

Butler County Commissioner Greg Jolivette says he feels like a proud father seeing this program finally come to fruition as the county offers basic health insurance to those making less than $30,000.

WCPO reports:
HealthShare Select is meant to cover people who are working and haven't had any health insurance for at least six months.

Employers don't have to make any contributions to the health plan, except for being willing to set up a payroll deduction for their employees.

For payments of $76 a month for individuals and $187 a month for families, it would offer basic health insurance that would cover routine medical costs like doctor and emergency room visits. All with little or no money to pay out of pocket.
When someone covered by the plan goes to the doctor and is charged more than $55, the patient is expected to pick up the slack. The whole goal is to reduce the number of uninsured patients at area emergency rooms and doctor's offices.

The plan was designed to pay for itself using no taxpayer dollars and will be managed by Horan Associates. Employers are also not required to contribute.

If no subsidies are required, I'm excited about the service; but if this program ultimately becomes yet another government handout, I will not be pleased. I have yet to see where exactly the funds are coming from...I assume that the plan's fee is expected to foot the bill.

WLWT covers what isn't covered:
The program, which goes into effect Sept. 1, covers only basic medical care, such as doctor’s visits and checkups.

Major medical emergencies are not covered under the plan, which is available to workers who earn less than $30,000, even those who have pre-existing medical conditions.
It looks like an interesting program...and no, I don't qualify...

UPDATE: The Enquirer picks up the story and has this quote in it:
"If a doctor's visit costs $75 and the plan's limit is $55, we'd like the doctor to agree not to bill the patient for the remaining $20," Jolivette said.
Uhh...why not? Isn't the doctor entitled to that money? It is what the cost of the visit actually is...

It is precisely this sort of back-door negotiating that is causing inflated prices in the first place... And if the doctor would agree to this, why isn't his cost $55 to everybody?

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