By Jim Donovan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–With two weeks to go until Americans can begin signing up for affordable health insurance, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett announced a plan that he says would allow more than a half million currently un-insured Pennsylvanians to obtain coverage. The proposal needs to be approved by the Obama administration. 3 On Your Side consumer reporter Jim Donovan has the details.
As part of the Affordable Care Act the federal government has agreed to foot the bill when states expand Medicaid to new enrollees. Paying 100 percent of the cost for the first three years, then 90 percent of the cost after that. But Governor Corbett has been a vocal opponent in expanding Medicaid in the state, saying that if federal money runs out, Pennsylvania tax payers would be left to foot the bill. So today he announced an alternative.
“If the goal is for everybody to have quality affordable health care, this is Pennsylvania’s way of doing that,” said Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Corbett.
While Governor Corbett has said he’s against expanding Medicaid eligibility in Pennsylvania, today he proposed a plan in which federal Medicaid funds would be used to pay the premiums for the uninsured to get coverage from private companies. That would require federal approval.
But it’s a plan similar to what’s been proposed in states like Arkansas and Iowa.
Governor Corbett’s proposal includes requiring unemployed working-age Medicaid beneficiaries to look for work or go through job training as a condition of receiving coverage. It also involves removing copayments, and instead charging monthly premiums on a sliding scale of between $0 and $25.
“We are trying to reach out to those people in that population that become newly eligible to get them affordable healthcare, get them job training and get them on the road to where they will be able to have a job that will provide the insurance and we can get them off of the system” said Governor Corbett.
With open enrollment starting October 1st, we’ll have to wait and see if Washington approves the plan.