Friday, January 19, 2007

Mass Insurance

Thanks to state budget cuts, uninsured Cape Codders may not know they need to pick a health plan by July 1 or face tax penalties.

The health reform legislation signed by former Gov. Mitt Romney in April makes Massachusetts the first state to require all adults over 18 to have health insurance.

Cape Cod. Isn't that where the Kennedy compound is?

On the Cape, an estimated 30,000 people, or as much as 14 percent of the population, do not have health insurance, according to a 2005 Barnstable County report, ''Monitoring the Human Condition.''

I wonder if this is like ritzy tourist areas where there are 2 social classes? The wealthy who live or vacation there . . . and the low wage workers who provide services.

One issue is whether the insurance plans will offer Cape residents access to local specialists, or whether they'll have to go off-Cape or up to Boston to get specialized care.

Paula Schnepp, director of the Cape Cod Free Clinic and Community Health Center in Mashpee, said only one of the four plans, BMC Health Net, has an extensive list of specialists available here on the Cape. Its premium would be $18 a month for an individual earning up to 150 percent of the poverty level.

At 150% of the FPL, that equates to an income of approximately $14,500 per year.

Their cost for a full coverage health insurance plan?

$18 per month.

I should also mention that MA is a GUARANTEED ISSUE state where insurance carriers are required to issue a policy, regardless of your health.

Some Cape health providers worry that the cost of premiums and co-payments might be too pricey for some patients

$18 per month = about $0.50 per day.

What are these people smoking?

Claire Goyer of the Duffy Health Center in Hyannis worries that patients with chronic physical or mental illnesses won't go to the doctor as often as they should if they have to make co-payments under the Commonwealth Care plans

How often do they go now?

Isn't this an IMPROVEMENT over the current situation?

Assuming of course . . . it actually works . . .
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