Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Insuring the Uninsured...part n+1

Santa Clara County, (California) the valley's largest provider of health care for people without medical insurance, thinks it can get small businesses to do the right thing -- and make the county money in the bargain.

Under the "Three Share Model'' plan, the county would make its health and hospital network -- and its 300 attending physicians -- available to low-wage workers of small businesses that currently do not offer health coverage. Participating employers and employees, in return, would pay monthly premiums....

It remains at the conceptual stage until next spring, when the county will learn if it will be awarded state money, estimated at $10 million to $15 million, to launch the project. SJ Mercury News
To be eligible, a business must have less than 50 employees, 30% of whom earn $30,000 or less per year, and who live and work within Santa Clara County. The current proposal calls for businesses to pay $125 per employee per month and the employee pay $50 per month...nothing has been said about rates for dependent coverage. If the plan gets approved by the state, it is estimated that 5000 to 10,000 people will enroll.

What this will do to the bottom line is unclear. The county provides medical services for these people anyway...with this plan they'll collect $175/month per employee. That's a lot higher than the $0 that's collected today. However, nothing has hit the press about the plan benefits versus what's currently provided. And if the enrollees now think of themselves as having real insurance, utilization may markedly increase.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

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