Blue Shield of California Foundation To Offer Health Insurance Subsidies for Low-Income Los Angeles County Residents
Blue Shield of California Foundation was expected to begin on Thursday a $5 million, year-long program to offer subsidies to about 18,000 low-income families in Los Angeles County who do not receive health insurance from their employer to purchase their own insurance, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. The not-for-profit insurer partnered with L.A. Care Health Plan to offer the program. Monthly subsidies will range from $20 for an individual to $100 for a family of five. To qualify for the program, participants must reside in Los Angeles County, have purchased and maintained health insurance for at least three months prior to applying and have a monthly income of no more than 200% of the federal poverty level. The subsidy program is "compatible" with other health insurers, including Blue Cross of California, Health Net, Kaiser Permanente, PacifiCare, UHP Healthcare and Universal Care, according to the Daily News.
Blue Shield CEO Bruce Bodaken said, "The insured market continues to shrink, and we are looking at a number of things to help L.A. County deal with this issue." Jerry Flanagan of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights said the program and similar plans offered by other health insurers do not adequately address the issue. He said, "[C]haritable contributions do not get the company off the hook for overcharging patients for decades. If Bodaken is really committed, he would lower premiums" (Pondel, Los Angeles Daily News, 7/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.