San Mateo County Studies Cost of Universal Coverage
Providing health insurance coverage to San Mateo County's uninsured population would cost about $155 million annually, according to a preliminary report, the San Francisco Examiner reports. The brief by independent actuary firm Milliman on Monday was presented to the county's Blue Ribbon Task Force on Adult Health Care Coverage Expansion.
Stan Roberts of Milliman said the estimate reflects a projected monthly premium of $294.
Approximately 36,000 to 44,000 uninsured adults in the county would qualify for coverage under a county-sponsored plan if eligibility were restricted to people whose incomes did not exceed 400% of the federal poverty level.
S.T. Mayer, a county health policy analyst, said indigent care costs at the public San Mateo Medical Center increased from $28 million in 2000 to $54 million in 2005. The hospital covers 90% to 95% of the county's indigent care costs, according to Mayer.
County officials said a county-sponsored plan largely would eliminate current county health care spending, including more than $34 million to insure low-income families and $33 million annually that hospitals provide in charity care.
County officials said they are considering a plan that would require employers or employees to be insured, in addition to other proposals (Carpenter, San Francisco Examiner, 4/24).