Reporting Stephanie Stahl
For more trusted health
news and information,
visit CBS Philly's
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A Pennsylvania health insurance plan for middle income families is about to run out of money. There’s growing worry for tens of thousands of people. 3 On Your Side Medical Reporter explains.
This holiday season isn’t so happy for Roseann Davis. The Perkasie mother of two may lose her health insurance coverage, and wouldn’t be able to pay for the medical care that keeps her alive.
“I can’t afford this. I can’t afford this, this is just devastating to me,” said Roseann.
She has many ailments, including Crohn’s disease and colitis, glaucoma, fibromyalgia, and herniated discs.
For six years, she’s been covered by Pennsylvania adultBasic, a state program that subsidizes costs for people who work, but can’t pay for health insurance on their own.
“I’m a middle class citizen who falls between the cracks of health insurance. We make too much for medical assistance and we don’t make enough to buy all this insurance.”
The adultBasic program is set to end in two months. Four insurance companies known as “The Blues” have paid for most of the program in the past, and are contributing more for 2011. But the state says that’s not enough and has not been able to come up with additional funding.
“This is a huge problem,” said Antoinette Kraus, who is with the Pennsylvania Health Access Network, an advocacy group that helps people get insurance.
“There’s currently 42,000 people on the program that will lose insurance. And then for the 400,000 plus people on the waiting list, there’s really no hope of getting insurance anywhere else,” said Antoinette.
“This will end my life if I don’t continue to have this insurance,” said Roseann.
She says she found out by accident, online. The state doesn’t have to notify people until a month before the coverage ends.
“I was in shock cause there was no notice,” said Roseann.
She says there’s no way she can afford just one treatment she depends on. Remicade for the Crohn’s disease alone would cost $123,000 a year.
“I am going to be a burden to my family. I will be a burden to my family if this happens,” said Roseann.
Here’s part of a letter Roseann wrote to state lawmakers pleading for help, “I will not let my family suffer with expenses cause of this, cause of me. So yes, I would rather die than let them have all my bills,” said Roseann.
One of the “Blues”, Independent Blue Cross, told us it’s willing to talk to the administration of incoming Governor Tom Corbett about a long-term solution, as long as the burden is shared by other insurance companies. Repeated calls to the new Governor of Pennsylvania were not returned.
Reported By: Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3