Wednesday, March 08, 2006


They're calling it a safety net for workers who don't have health insurance.

The program will enable 80,000 low-income, uninsured Arkansans to get
health coverage through their employers. Businesses would have to contribute $15.00 a month for lowest income workers and $100 a month for higher-paid staff.

Sounds noble, but will it work?

At David Family Kitchen, the main order of business is serving the best fried chicken and peach cobbler possible. But behind most workers is a personal story that doesn't include health insurance. Owner Pearletha David describes the struggle to insure her staff, "One time, we had a health plan, for three years; and one of the employees got sick and had surgery and the insurance wouldn’t pay off."

Do we know WHY the insurance did not pay?

As it turns out, the article does not say. I can speculate but why bother? The bottom line is, if there was a CONTRACTUAL obligation to pay, the carrier would have done so. Most likely, no one bothered to actually READ the policy until it was too late.

So how did Ms. David react?

David was forced to cancel the plan.

Forced by whom?

We are not told.

David gets plenty of visits from insurance agents trying to sell her a package, but it's never in her price range. David says, "They talk to me all this stuff on the phone and once they get here and start showing me figures, it just doesn’t add up, so we didn’t have any."

What is her price range? What doesn’t add up?

We may never know . . .

To learn more details about the plan, I had to dig a little deeper.

The program will not offer full coverage and will not be available to small businesses that already provide insurance to workers, Huckabee said.

So what is less than full coverage?

The program's basic benefit package includes six physician visits a year and two prescriptions a month. Enrollees will be required to pay a $15 monthly premium and 15 percent co-payments, with a maximum out-of-pocket cost of $1,000 per year.

In other words, a mini-med plan.

So is AR OK?

I don’t think so.
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