How to Cover the Young and Uninsured – Oddly, It’s Not through Dirigo

How to Cover the Young and Uninsured – Oddly, It’s Not through Dirigo

March 30, 2007 Posted by Tarren Bragdon - No Comments

Anthem’s parent company, WellPoint, is shaking up the health insurance marketplace with a new product targeting the young and uninsured with affordable coverage that they actually want and will buy.
According to a recent Business Week story, WellPoint “is winning hundreds of thousands of new customers with policies named “Part-Time Daredevil” and “Gravity Bender,” offering basic coverage for as little as $67 a month….. Indeed, consumers are snapping up the novel policies that WellPoint markets, so far mainly in eight states. Sold on sites like Tonik.com and Soundhealth.com, they’re a hit with those aged 19 to 29, and a big part of the way WellPoint has sold coverage to some 780,000 previously uninsured people in the last two years…The scaled-back individual policies WellPoint offers under the Tonik and Sound brands may cost as little as one-third of what employer-based group coverage does, but they cover as few as four doctor visits annually (with co-pays) and carry deductibles ranging as high as $5,000 (or $10,000 for services outside a network).”
So far, about 78 percent those buying Tonik plans were previously uninsured. And these policies cost receive no taxpayer subsidies – unlike DirigoChoice.
In Maine, due to costly insurance regulations, such policies could not be targeted in young people in such a cost-effective way. So Maine young people wanting affordable health insurance will have to move out of state, as Tonik is now available in next door New Hampshire and Connecticut.
That’s not the way life should be – or needs to be.