San Francisco Focused on Deadline of Health Access Plan
The director of San Francisco's pioneer program to provide access to health care services to all city residents is confident that the program will take effect by its July 1, 2007, deadline, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
If Tangerine Brigham, head of the Health Access Program, meets the deadline, she will accomplish what Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) labeled the "most complex" part of the plan (Knight, San Francisco Chronicle, 2/9).
The plan is expected to cost about $200 million annually. The city will contribute $104 million that it already spends on medical care for the uninsured. Premiums from plan members are expected to generate $56 million.
Newsom signed the law in August 2006.
Businesses are expected to contribute $28 million through an employer-contribution mandate developed by Supervisor Tom Ammiano. The mandate requires businesses to contribute $1.06 or $1.60 per hour worked per worker depending on how many workers a company employs.
Private businesses with 50 or more employees that currently do not provide health coverage to workers will be required to begin contributing to the health access plan on July 1. Businesses with 20 to 49 workers will be required to begin payments in April 2008. Businesses that provide health insurance will be required to contribute to the plan if their health care spending is less than the mandated amount (California Healthline, 8/8/06).
Brigham is working with members of a new advisory committee to work out details of the plan, including:
- Setting membership rates;
- Designing the range of services the program will provide; and
- Developing marketing strategies to promote the plan (San Francisco Chronicle, 2/9).