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    Activists rally to extend health insurance

    AdultBasic insurance has been paid for by the four Blue Cross insurers in Pennsylvania since 2005, but that funding agreement expires in a year.

    Funding for Pennsylvania’s subsidized health insurance will expire in one year. Advocates are pleading with insurance companies to keep picking up the tab until federal health reform kicks in.

    Activists rallied at events around Pennsylvania, highlighting the expiration date of adultBasic, the state’s health insurance for low income residents.

    Ward: Health insurance for these individuals is in jeopardy.

    Sharon Ward is the executive director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center. In a press conference she called on the four Blue Cross insurers in the state to continue funding the program, as they have since 2005.

    The financing arrangement for adultBasic was originally set to end in December, but the companies extended it six months. Judimarie Thomas is a spokeswoman for Independence Blue Cross.

    Thomas: This gives the commonwealth sufficient time to plan for and identify sustainable funding for adult basic after July 1, 2011.

    A bill in the legislature would mandate the insurers to pay for the program. Ward says the Blues can afford to continue the program.

    Ward: We’re not looking for the long term, we’re looking for the short term. The program needs to exist as a bridge until federal health care reform goes into effect. If not, 46,000 people are going to lose their health insurance.

    More than 350,000 people are on the waiting list for adultBasic.

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