Some states could hire health insurers to offer a new type of health plan – the Section 1331 Basic Health Program plan — to moderate-income individuals.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, talks about the Section 1331 Basic Health Program in a request for information set to appear in the Federal Register Sept. 14.
Congress put Section 1331 in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) to give states an alternative to insuring moderately low-income residents through the new PPACA health insurance exchange.
If PPACA takes effect on schedule and works drafters hope, the PPACA will create new health insurance tax credit subsidies, new health insurance distribution exchanges, expanded access to Medicaid, and many other new programs and coverage options in 2014.
The Section 1331 program is designed for people who earn too much to qualify for free Medicaid coverage but too little to have an easy time paying for coverage.
To be eligible for the Section 1331 program, CMS officials say, an individual must:
- Be younger than 65 at the beginning of the plan year.
- Have a household income between 133% and 200% of the federal poverty level.
- Not be eligible for Medicaid or for affordable employer-sponsored coverage.
A state can contract with one or more insurers to provide the Basic Health Program plans, or “standard health plans.”