THE UNINSURED: Program that Insures Individuals Denied Coverage Receives Funding Boost
Gov. Gray Davis (D) last week approved a $5 million boost for the state's $40 million program that helps individuals who have been denied health insurance to secure coverage, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The program pays for part of the cost of insurance for individuals who do not receive group coverage through an employer or public program but have been deemed "too costly for normal individual coverage" by insurers. People with chronic or potentially long term conditions, such as AIDS or cancer, particularly benefit from the program "because insurers can legally deny them coverage at the usual rates." State legislators earlier had recommended that the program receive an additional $10 million from tobacco tax revenues, but Davis cut that amount in half, saying that funds are needed to improve women's and infants' access to health care programs. Still, the increase is sufficient to provide insurance for many of the 4,600 people statewide who are waiting for coverage under the program. Peter Anderson, deputy director of the Managed Risk Health Insurance Board in Sacramento, said, "We're thrilled that we received this augmentation. This is excellent news." But Stephanie Strong, who is on the program's waiting list, said, "I'm disappointed [Davis] didn't approve all of it. But I hope that what he did approve will help me and others on the list get into the program that much faster." Davis added that he wants the state Legislature and insurance industry to find additional solutions for individuals with "reduced ability to purchase expensive health insurance" (Clark, 7/2).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.