Pa. ends adultBasic insurance for 41,000 participants

    Advocates held a vigil at the governor’s residence in Harrisburg Monday, but there was no last-minute reprieve for Pennsylvania’s state-run health-insurance program.

    After nearly nine years, the adultBasic program has ended with about 41,000 low-income residents losing their coverage.

    Program supporters say many of those people won’t find a coverage substitute they can afford.

    Efforts to save the program often focused on the individual stories; Kaiser Family Foundation policy analyst Samantha Artiga said all those individual stories and adultBasic’s demise will tax safety-net health providers and impact Pennsylvania’s health-care system as a whole.

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    “Are they waiting until they have more expensive, more difficult-to-treat conditions before they seek care? Are they now turning to the emergency room, instead of the doctor’s office as well as to clinics?” she said.

    Artiga said Pennsylvania was just one of six states to fully fund a health-insurance program for adults without the help of federal dollars.

    The national health overhaul expands access to Medicaid but that change won’t begin until 2014.

    Antoinette Kraus, part of a coalition that tried to save adultBasic, said low-income residents looking for affordable alternatives should contact the Philadelphia Unemployment Project.

    “Our health-care navigator will walk people through the options based on their income, and if they have any illnesses, what they might be able to qualify for, or help them navigate the process in the private insurance market,” Kraus said. “It going to be significantly more expensive for people who are on adultBasic because a lot of them have pre-existing conditions,” she said.

    Governor Tom Corbett and Republican leaders in the state house said there was no money to continue adultBasic.

    Click here for more information on the Philadelphia Unemployment Project.

    See Pennsylvania’s Department of Insurance Web site here.

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