SCI Webinar: Basic Health Program

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On November 17, State Coverage Initiatives hosted a webinar that explored the pros and cons of the Basic Health Program. This option under the Affordable Care Act lets states provide their low-income residents ineligible for Medicaid with coverage that may be more affordable than subsidized health plans in the exchange. For many states, this option could be implemented to yield potential General Fund savings. Stan Dorn, senior fellow at the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center, provided guidance to state officials navigating the possibilities and pitfalls of this program.

The ACA allows states to design new coverage programs for individuals and families with incomes between 133% and 200% of the poverty line. If a state elects the option, these people would choose a plan under contract with the state instead of one offered in the insurance exchange. The state would receive federal funds to operate its Basic Health program equal to 95% of the cost of the premium and cost-sharing subsidies that would have gone to providing coverage for this group in the exchange. 

If properly designed, a state Basic Health program could provide more affordable and comprehensive coverage than the exchange. In addition, a state could provide Medicaid, CHIP and Basic Health coverage through the same plans and keep families together, resulting in greater enrollment, more stable coverage, and fewer coverage gaps.

January Angeles from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities also joinined this webinar to discuss a new project designed to boost enrollment, retention, and access to care by developing a framework for implementing Basic Health in ways that provide seamless, affordable, high-quality coverage for low-income people.

With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities will undertake the following activities to ensure strong and effective implementation of Basic Health in states that choose the option: develop recommendations for federal regulations and guidance around Basic Health implementation; develop a best-practices guide for implementing Basic Health; and work with individual states that can serve as models on the actual design and execution of the program

Stan Dorn, J.D., Senior Research Associate at the Urban Institute, has more than 20 years experience working on health policy issues at the state and national levels. He is currently one of the nation's leading experts on default enrollment systems as applied to Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Before coming to the Urban Institute, Mr. Dorn was a Senior Policy Analyst at the Economic and Social Research Institute.

January Angeles
is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, whose work focuses on Medicaid, coordinating enrollment and eligibility policies between Medicaid and the premium credits in health reform, and ensuring the affordability of health care for low-income people.  Previously she was a Program Officer at the Center for Health Care Strategies where she worked with state Medicaid agencies and managed care plans to improve the quality of care for vulnerable populations.  She has also worked at the American Institutes for Research and Mathematica Policy Research, conducting evaluations and analyses of health care programs and policies.  Ms. Angeles received her master’s in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley and a bachelor of arts degree from Oberlin College.
This webinar took place on Wednesday, November 17, 2010 from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm EST. Please view the recording below. Please click here for the Q&A from this webinar.