Laval Miller-Wilson and Antoinette Kraus
The tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians who recently received cancellation notices from their health insurers are understandably worried. Few know that feeling better than 41,000 Pennsylvanians who saw their adultBasic coverage cancelled two years ago. The key difference: most of those who lost adultBasic weren’t able to find other coverage as insurers could still deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, charge high rates for skimpy coverage, and restrict care by placing lifetime and annual limits on coverage.
Those who lost adultBasic didn’t have access to tax credits to reduce their monthly premiums, or cost-sharing help to cut their out-of-pocket costs, as most of those receiving cancellation notices will, by getting a plan in the Health Insurance Marketplace under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The two situations are not directly comparable, but there are some important lessons learned from this experience:
Antoinette Kraus, Director of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network
Last Friday, Arkansas received approval from the federal government to expand its Medicaid program in a manner that is different from the one envisioned by the Affordable Care Act. Last month, Governor Corbett announced “Healthy PA,” a plan he claims mirrors the Arkansas proposal. Both plans give premium assistance to most individuals making up to133% of the federal poverty level (FPL) to purchase private insurance in the new health reform exchanges. Persons deemed “medically fragile” would still receive traditional Medicaid.
The Arkansas approval may seem like a positive sign for the Corbett plan, but there are key differences between the proposals that may prevent the Governor’s plan from being approved.
The Corbett proposal requires most unemployed Medicaid beneficiaries to conduct computer-based work searches or participate in job training. Because the overwhelming majority of them are already working, the federal government has said it will reject the work search requirement as a waste of time and money.