A year after demise of Pa. program, uninsured look forward to federal health law

    Advocates marking the first-year anniversary of the end Pennsylvania’s adultBasic health-care program say there’s relief in sight for state residents who have been struggling to find low-cost insurance plans.

    AdultBasic offered affordable health insurance to low-income Pennsylvanians who couldn’t get it elsewhere — either because of their job, or due to pre-existing health conditions.

    But there’s light at the end of the tunnel for former enrollees — the coming implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2014, says Erin Gill-Ninehouser of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network.`

    “You can’t be charged more because of your health status or gender,” she said. “And if you work or you’re not working, you’re laid off, and don’t have coverage, you can go and buy a policy through new state-based marketplaces called exchanges that Pennsylvania’s working on setting up right now.

    Almost 41,000 people were covered by adultBasic before its funding agreement expired and it was shut down last March.

    The state Department of Insurance says about 40 percent of the people on its rolls are known to have found other coverage with more expensive plans that restrict doctor’s office visits — to the dismay of some of the former adultBasic enrollees who signed up.

    There are about 1 million Pennsylvanians without heath coverage, according to 2008 Insurance Department data, the latest available.

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