Industry plan helps cover uninsured

The $300-billion proposal could provide coverage to more than 40-million Americans.

Published November 14, 2006

WASHINGTON - Health insurance companies proposed a $300-billion plan Monday aimed at getting coverage for all uninsured children in three years and for most adults within 10.

The plan includes tax breaks for the working poor and increased spending by the government for Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

The largest of the tax breaks would go for universal health accounts.

Individuals could set aside up to $2,000 a year, and families up to $4,000, to pay for any type of health insurance, not just plans that require patients to pay significant up-front costs.

The insurers also called for giving low-income families a tax credit worth up to $500 when they secure health insurance for their children.

They said their proposal would go a long way toward providing basic coverage to more than 40-million uninsured, the group said.

The trade group made no recommendations as to how the government should pay the bill of $300-billion over 10 years, but it noted that expanding coverage to the uninsured would bring significant savings to the insured.

That's because the insured subsidize much of the health care provided to the uninsured in the form of higher monthly premiums.