Healthy Pennsylvania Seeks to Expand Coverage to Low Income Residents
Pennsylvania recently got the go-ahead to begin reforms on public welfare in the state, an issue that has been a top priority for state taxpayers who are unhappy with rising taxes in the midst of Obamacare. Governor Tom Corbett has put forth Healthy Pennsylvania as an alternative to the statewide expansion of Medicaid.
Healthy Pennsylvania is a new initiative aimed at making health care more affordable, while saving taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars. Governor Corbett hopes to expand coverage to 600,000 Pennsylvanians by providing federal subsidies to low-income residents. These subsidies will allow low-income residents to purchase insurance from this new, private health plan.
The program bases health care on the need of the individual, recognizing that older residents generally require more health care benefits than young, healthy residents. Individuals will be screened based on certain factors to determine whether a high-risk or low-risk plan would be more beneficial to them.
Healthy Pennsylvania will also encourage people to take a more proactive approach to healthcare, since preventive measures can save quite a bit of money down the road. People who do not have a primary care physician or who do not receive regular check-ups may face more serious health problems, and bigger bills, in the future. Over 60% of bankruptcy cases in the U.S. result from medical bills, according to the American Journal of Medicine. Governor Corbett’s plan seeks to save Pennsylvanians from such hardship by offering incentives for people to see their primary care doctor on a regular basis and avoid the need for expensive medical treatment.
Some Pennsylvania residents fear that Healthy Pennsylvania could end up costing them more, as some participants, whose incomes put them above the poverty level, will have to pay a portion of their premium in the second year of the program. Critics argue that this will discourage people from signing up for insurance plans through Healthy Pennsylvania.
Still, many Pennsylvanians eagerly await the new healthcare reform. Healthy Pennsylvania will begin coverage on January 1, 2015 (a year after states were allowed to expand Medicaid), with enrollment beginning December 1, 2014.