AdultBasic members may line up for PA Fair Care

    Pennsylvania’s high-risk health insurance plan is open for business, and on September 1, thousands of hard-to-insure Pennsylvanians may be eligible for it.

    The PA Fair Care program is an insurance option for people with chronic health conditions, who struggle to find—or afford—private health coverage.

    When Pennsylvania’s AdultBasic program shut down this year, tens of thousands of people lost their low-cost coverage.

    PA Fair Care was not an immediate alternative for many former AdultBasic members because PA Fair Care requires a six-month “go bare” period.

    “So they really can’t just up and enroll in PA Fair Care until they’ve been without insurance. For people with very serious health problems, it’s often very bad for them to go without insurance for any period of time,” said Antoinette Kraus, project manager for the Pennsylvania Health Access Network.

    Her coalition includes care advocates and activists who supported the federal health overhaul.

    PA Fair Care costs a little less than $300 a month. Kraus says that’s cheaper than many private plans offered to people with a pre-existing condition or complicated health history.

    September 1 is the six-month anniversary of the end of AdultBasic.

    “For a lot of the people who were on AdultBasic, they were paying around $36 a month, so we are still worried they will not be able to afford the $283 a month,” Kraus said.

    PA Fair Care has enrolled about 3,600 people so far. After reviewing health claims and costs, state officials say there’s no plan to cap enrollment or require a wait list.

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