NU Online News Service, Sept. 16, 2003, 3:46 p.m. EDT – Alabama residents without health insurance now can sign up for coverage under a new plan offered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, Birmingham, Ala., according to the Alabama Department of Insurance.

The new plan will be available during an open-enrollment period from Oct. 1 to Nov. 30.

A state task force created this spring negotiated the new plan with Alabama Blue, the Alabama department says.

The plan will be available to uninsured residents under the age of 65. Eligible residents can buy the insurance directly from Alabama Blue.

The plan costs $145 a month for individual coverage and $320 for families, according to published reports. The plan carries a deductible of $1,000 per person for major medical expenses such as doctors’ visits, capped at $3,000 per family. The plan will not cover preexisting conditions until 12 months after signup.

About 500,000 Alabamians are uninsured, state officials estimate.