While the health care debate continues in Washington, a major change is occurring to adultBasic, a program that helps low income Pennsylvanians afford insurance.
Eligible Pennsylvanians without health care have been able to turn to adultBasic for coverage, even when they are on the waitlist. In Pennsylvania more than 40,000 are receiving the full benefits of the program, while the waitlist stands at over 300,000.
3,500 individuals on the waitlist have chosen to buy into the program at full cost until they can access the program at the $35 per month cost. The amount of time someone will spend on the wait list varies, depending on when people apply as well as funding. Generally those on the waitlist must wait at least one year. The rate to buy into the program is approximately $330 a month. However, in March, this buy-in amount will increase by 80 percent. Individuals on the waitlist will then have to pay $600 per month on average for coverage.
Individuals who buy into adultBasic use it to cover such needs as primary care, specialty care, hospitalization, emergency services, testing services, maternity care, and rehabilitation coverage. Unfortunately, buying into adultBasic to cover these services will become unaffordable for many individuals who currently rely on them or may need them in the future. For those who rely on this program and will not be able to afford it after March, many will have to turn to emergency rooms for treatment or take on medical debt.
Already in Pennsylvania, $2.5 billion is spent on uncompensated care. This cost is passed on to families and businesses in the form of a hidden tax that costs Pennsylvanians an estimated $900 a year extra on premiums. If more individuals are unable to afford insurance these hidden taxes will likely increase.