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WellPoint Develops Plan For Uninsured

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A large health insurer says blending public and private programs is the best way to help the uninsured.

WellPoint Inc., Indianapolis, is suggesting that states expand access to health coverage for children by subsidizing coverage for families that earn up to 3 times the federal level, or about $60,000 a year for a family of 4.

WellPoint also is proposing to:

- Offer access to subsidized state health care program for parents who earn up to 200% of the federal poverty level.

- Cover all childless adults who earn up to the federal poverty level, or about $9,800 for a single adult.

- Provide more premium assistance for families that need help with paying for their private insurance.

- Establish and expand state “high-risk pool” insurance programs for individuals who have trouble buying conventional coverage because they suffer from health problems.

If adopted by all states, these steps and others in the WellPoint proposal could reach about 25 million of the 42 million uninsured Americans, WellPoint estimates.