HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 24, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In an effort to provide continuing health coverage for Pennsylvania's working families, Governor Tom Corbett's nominee for Insurance Commissioner today asked the federal government to help resolve a problem left by the prior administration.
The state's adultBasic health insurance program covers approximately 42,000 Pennsylvanians who have modest incomes but do not qualify for Medical Assistance. However, all available funding for adultBasic is set to expire on Feb. 28.
Michael Consedine, the nominee for Insurance Commissioner, today asked the Obama Administration to re-allocate funds from states not using high-risk pool money to the Commonwealth to allow for more coverage for low-income Pennsylvanians.
Additionally, Consedine asked U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to confirm that qualifying adultBasic enrollees with pre-existing conditions be allowed to move immediately over to the PA Fair Care plan and retain health care coverage.
"Many adultBasic enrollees have pre-existing conditions and are exactly the people that the PA Fair Care plan was created to help,'' Consedine said.
PA Fair Care is the federally-funded insurance pool set up in Pennsylvania for people with pre-existing conditions that have trouble obtaining commercial insurance.
"Making the PA Fair Care program available is one more option to help these people and we will continue to press this issue for our citizens,'' Consedine said.
adultBasic had been funded by a combination of tobacco-settlement revenues and donations from the state's four Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans, with premiums costing just $36 a month.
As the tobacco funding was used to pay for rising Medical Assistance costs, the Blues agreed to pay a percentage of its revenues into a fund supporting the program. That agreement expired in December 2010, but the Blues agreed to contribute an additional $51 million to keep the program going until June 2011.
However, members of the Corbett transition team discovered before taking office that the adultBasic program was essentially bankrupt.
With no funding alternative in place, transition team members negotiated an agreement with the Blue Cross companies to waive their normal restriction on people with pre-existing conditions who move from adultBasic to the Blues' current Special Care plans for low-income people.
If you would like more information on the ending of adultBasic coverage and your health insurance alternatives, please visit www.insurance.pa.gov and click on "adultBasic" or call 1-800-GO-BASIC (1-800-462-2742) from Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. or Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Residents seeking more information on Special Care should contact the Blue Cross or Blue Shield plan that provides services in the county where they reside:
- Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania at 1-800-829-8599 or www.bcnepa.com/ohpSpecialCare.aspx;
- Capital BlueCross at 1-800-962-222 or www.capbluecross.com/Products/ForIndividuals/IncomeBased/SpecialCare/;
- Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield at 1-800-876-7639 or www.highmarkblueshield.com/chmptl/chm/jsp/socialMissionPages.do?type=specialcare;
- Independence Blue Cross at 1-866-282-2702 or www.ibx.com/health_plans/low_income/special_care.html.
Or visit www.compass.state.pa.us to see if you qualify for Medical Assistance.
Kevin Harley, Governor's Office; 717-783-1116
Rosanne Placey, Insurance Dept.; 717-787-3289
SOURCE Pennsylvania Insurance Department