Utah Health Insurers Propose New, Lower-Cost Health Plan

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Insurance companies in Utah on Friday announced a new product prototype, NetCare, that is designed to provide coverage to state residents between jobs and costs less than COBRA coverage, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

NetCare will cost substantially less than the price of the average large-group premium because the coverage does not include all the benefits currently required by the state. NetCare would offer individual or group plan coverage for up to 12 months for employees transitioning off their employer's insurance plan. After one year, plan members would have to reapply as an individual and be evaluated.


The plan will focus on providing beneficiaries with incentives for maintaining healthy lifestyles, as well as discounts and savings for preventive care. Plan members would be eligible for up to $300 worth of preventive care annually for a $5 copayment. Out-of-pocket costs for most services, including hospital and maternity care, would be limited to 30% after the deductible is met. Generic prescription drug copays would be $15 and the plan would cover half of the cost of brand-name drugs.

Insurers also called on lawmakers to address the root causes of increasing health care costs. State Rep. Jim Dunningan (R) said, "Without a reduction of overall costs, it's not sustainable to offer affordable products on the market" (Rosetta, Salt Lake Tribune, 11/1).

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This plan will help capture some of Utah's uninsureds. But, my question is, how is Utah going to pay for it? With high deductibles, and lower than state-mandated benefits, it's not going to be a popular plan accross the board. Although, it will be a good plan to cover the uninsurable. But, if the savings is only 33% compared to the average large group plan (which is very expensive) people with clean health histories and little or no prescriptions will be better off going somewhere else. This will leave the plan with little or no "healthy premium." That money has to come from somewhere, and it hasn't even been discussed in detail yet, even though the legislation has passed the Utah state house and senate. Jared Balis