San Mateo County Debuts Pilot Program To Expand Health Care Coverage
San Mateo County last week began enrolling low-income residents in a new pilot program that aims to serve as the groundwork for a larger effort to expand health insurance coverage to all county residents, the San Francisco Examiner reports.
The three-year pilot program aims to provide medical services to as many as 2,100 county residents with complex chronic conditions. It is being financed using about $21 million in federal grant money (Barak, San Francisco Examiner, 9/25).
Because the effort receives federal funding, enrollment is limited to documented legal residents whose incomes do not exceed 200% of the federal poverty level and have less than $15,000 in assets (California Healthline, 8/15).
County officials see the pilot program as the first step in an effort to expand coverage to more than 40,000 uninsured county residents, largely by developing a low-cost health plan for adult residents through the county-administered Health Plan of San Mateo.
The effort is projected to cost about $165 million annually, with about $90 million coming from existing funding sources for low-income health programs and money for treating indigent patients. Other funding sources under consideration include:
- Income-based premiums for enrollees;
- A county sales tax increase; and
- A business licensing fee (San Francisco Examiner, 9/25).