North Carolina House To Establish State Health Insurance Pool
The North Carolina House on Thursday approved a bill that wouldestablish a state health insurance pool for residents with seriousmedical conditions who cannot afford or qualify for private coverage,the Raleigh News & Observer reports. The legislation, sponsored by state Rep. Verla Insko (D), moves to Gov. Mike Easley (D) for consideration.
Underthe bill, which the state Senate passed on Wednesday, participants inthe pool would cover 65% of the cost of premiums, which would cost 150%to 200% more than those for private coverage for healthy individuals.The state would cover the remainder of the cost of the pool in partwith revenue from a current tax on health insurance premiums. The taxwould raise an estimated $14.3 million for the pool in the first year.In addition, the state employee health plan would contribute about$700,000 to the pool annually, and the state Health and Wellness Trust Fund,financed with the funds that the state receives from the 1998 nationaltobacco settlement, would contribute $5 million in the first year.
Enrollmentin the pool would begin no later than Jan. 1, 2009, with about 2,000participants expected in the first year. According to supporters, thelegislation could help as many as 14,000 state residents within 10years (Bonner, Raleigh News & Observer, 8/3).
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