New WellPoint Health Plan for Uninsured Young Adults Examined
The Indianapolis Star on Dec. 25, 2005, examined a new low-premium, high-deductible health plan Indianapolis-based WellPoint for individuals from ages 19 through their early 30s "who are likely to go without health insurance." WellPoint designed the health plan, called Tonik, for young adults who "are without jobs or working in positions that don't provide benefits" and students who no longer receive coverage through the health plans of their parents, the Star reports.
WellPoint launched Tonik in California in 2003. Tonik also is available in Colorado and will become available in other states this year.
Tonik offers three levels of health coverage: "Thrill Seeker," "Part-Time Daredevil" and "Calculated Risktaker." Monthly premiums under Tonik range from $64 to $123 based on age, location and medical history, and deductibles range from $1,500 to $5,000.
Tonik covers limited dental and vision services but does not cover maternity care. According to the Star, Tonik is "part of a new line of insurance products sprouting up as fewer Americans are getting health insurance" from their employers because of increased health care costs.
Steve Synott, general manager of individual services for the WellPoint West Region, said that about 70% of individuals who enroll in Tonik were previously uninsured.
Jim Atterholt, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Insurance, said that "[t]here are a number of folks who choose to be uninsured. I think it reaches that demographic." He added, "Nobody was going after this segment until these products came out" (Lee, Indianapolis Star, 12/25/05).