Uninsured: Utah Program Would Enroll Adults in CHIP-Like Program
The Utah Health Policy Commission is studying the feasibility of creating an insurance program for non-Medicaid eligible working poor adults that would emulate Utah's Children's Health Insurance Program. Health Policy Commission Executive Director Patrick Johnson said, "Even though we're not done with the first year, we believe the actuarial experience that we have with the CHIP- eligible children will show they are healthier than the Medicaid population. If you proceed on that premise, it makes sense you could have less intensive benefit design for that population. We also believe it will follow that the same would be true of uninsured adults." The state health department estimates about 60,000 working poor adults are uninsured. Among the issues to be studied over the "next several months" is program funding, Johnson said. Although HFCA "was cool to the idea of extending a Medicaid waiver to pay for the program," he said CHIP's actuarial performance "may cause the federal government to take notice." More HMOs "that could serve CHIP children under state contracts" may also be interested. Despite the need for such a program, Bonnie Macri, Justice, Economic Dignity and Independence for Women board chair, said, "Given the whole attitude of the Legislature, I doubt they'd do it here." Even if they did, such a program would require federal approval as well (Cortez, Salt Lake City Deseret News, 4/28).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.