NU Online News Service, May 10, 2004, 7:05 p.m. EDT – Employers, think tanks and politicians are trying to come up with ideas for ways to make “Cover the Uninsured Week” a vehicle for real change.[@@]
Sponsors of the week include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Washington, and the AFL-CIO, Washington, and the co-chairmen are Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. Supporters are organizing hundreds of Uninsured Week events.
The HR Policy Association, Washington, a group for senior human resources executives at large companies, may have made the biggest impact, by forming a pair of purchasing programs that will bargain for cheaper coverage with looser underwriting requirements for 4 million affiliated uninsured workers and dependents.
The 4 million uninsured people, who make up about 9% of the U.S. uninsured population, include part-time workers, temporary workers, pre-65 retirees, employees in waiting periods, former employees who have exhausted COBRA benefits and students who are no longer eligible for their parents’ plans.
One program, the Affordable Health Care Solutions, will shop for national coverage. Hewitt Associates Inc., Lincolnshire, Ill., will design that program.
The other program, the Regional Health Care Quality Initiatives, will form a network of purchasing coalitions in areas where the HR Policy Association’s member companies employ more than 5% of the workforce.
“These coalitions will mobilize their buying power and choose a single health care plan for the region to secure better pricing, benefits, and higher quality insurance for participating employers and their insured employees,” the association says.