Farmworkers’ Health Plan Asks for State Subsidy To Comply With ACA
A health plan that provides coverage for farmworkers in California is asking the state to provide a one-year, $3.2 million subsidy to help it comply with Affordable Care Act requirements, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Without the subsidy, farmworkers say that 10,700 individuals could lose their health coverage.
Details of Health Plan
The Robert F. Kennedy Medical Plan does not meet ACA standards because it caps annual benefits at $70,000. The health plan has received a waiver to continue offering its non-compliant coverage until September.
The health plan is requesting a state subsidy to cover any costs that exceed the $70,000 cap so that farmworkers and their employers will not be responsible for the costs.
Changing coverage would increase costs by 35% to 80%, according to a legislative analysis based on information provided by the health plan. If supplemental coverage is not provided, half of the health plan's members likely would shift to a government health program, which would cost $4.7 million -- or $1.5 million more than the proposed subsidy, according to the analysis.
Last week, a legislative panel recommended that the state offer the subsidy to RFK Medical Plan.
Meanwhile, Mark Hedlund, a spokesperson for Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), said the health plan is seeking an extension of its waiver, to give it more time to become with the health reform law.
The subsidy is being pushed by the United Farm Workers union group and is backed by Steinberg and Sen. Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro), who said the subsidy could be paid for with money from cigarette taxes.
However, other organizations that have changed their coverage to comply with the ACA question whether RFK Medical Plan should be granted the subsidy.
Clare Einsmann -- executive vice president of the United Agricultural Benefit Trust, which provides health coverage to 35,000 farmworkers -- said," Our plan absorbed the cost" of switching to ACA-compliant coverage. She added, "Creating a special set of rules for one plan, I don't know if that's appropriate."
Aaron Coen, an analyst in the state Department of Finance, also expressed concern about the subsidy "setting a precedent for other plans" (Megerian, Los Angeles Times, 5/26).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.