Expansion of San Francisco Health Plan in the Works
San Francisco Supervisor Tom Ammiano on Tuesday will introduce legislation to expand the city's health access plan to San Francisco business employees who do not live in the city, the San Francisco Examiner reports (Eslinger, San Francisco Examiner, 3/5).
The San Francisco Health Access Program is intended to provide access to health care services to San Francisco's 82,000 uninsured residents.
The program is expected to cost about $200 million annually, with the city contributing $104 million that it already spends on medical care for the uninsured and premiums from plan members expected to generate $56 million. Businesses are expected to contribute $28 million through an employer-contribution mandate developed by Ammiano.
Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) signed the law in August 2006 (California Healthline, 2/28).
The new amendment proposal would allow full-time, nonresident workers at businesses with 20 or more employees to either receive health insurance or a health care reimbursement account worth at least $178 monthly.
Newsom supports the measure.
Tangerine Brigham, the city official overseeing the program, said that businesses participating in city-sponsored focus groups said they were less likely to contribute to the program if they still would have to maintain separate accounts or plans for nonresident workers.
The amendment also would delay until Jan. 1, 2008, enrollment in the program.
City officials this week asked for an extension to a June 1 court hearing date for a lawsuit filed by the Golden Gate Restaurant Association. The group is challenging the legality of the employer-contribution mandate in the health access program.
An extended enrollment date for the program would allow the city to see the outcome of the lawsuit, according to the Examiner (San Francisco Examiner, 3/5).