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Utah endorses new low cost health insurance

Kim Morris | March 6, 2009

Utah's state legislature is in the final stage of approving HB 188 that expands the availability of limited benefit low cost health insurance as an alternative to COBRA, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Yesterday the state Senate approved a bill that is very close to a bill already approved by the House. A workout and final passage is expected. This new insurance will be exempt from many of Utah's state insurance mandates that drive up the cost of insurance. In the past, state governments have been reluctant to endorse short term medical insurance, limited benefit and "mini-med" plans because of the public perception that these "undo" the work of adding consumer protection through insurance mandates. But these protections came at a high cost. Now, in Utah at least, the tide has turned and limited coverage is favored by Utah's legislators over no coverage at all. Like Utah's present Core Health Insurance, the new NetCare program will allow employer to enroll employees through a company-sponsored health plan without the expensive obligations of other types of health insurance. Online enrollment for NetCare program is expected to be added in 2010 and will join the 10 currently available low cost limited health insurance plans currently supported by OnlineAdviser. There is still no requirement that Utah residents maintain health insurance and so about one person in six chooses to go "bareback" without coverage even when affordable insurance is available, according to the National Institute on Health Care Management.

Until now, the most popular low cost medical insurance for individuals and small businesses in Utah were the consumer-driven plans from UnitedHealthOne's Golden Rule Insurance, short term medical plan brands like SIMPLE STM and Secure STM. Core Health Insurance and the Value Benefit series of low cost limited benefit insurance plans. It is not known how popular the new NetCare program will be but similar programs in other states have been successful in insuring up to 6% of the population, including some who previously had no health insurance. Most of the enrollments in limited benefit health insurance, however, come from those who are downgrading from more expensive major medical type insurance.

Tags : utah low affordable health insurance

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