Healthy Howard

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Healthy Howard is a county-sponsored health care program offered to certain uninsured residents of Howard County, Maryland. The program, which provides doctors visits and prescription drugs, has been nationally hailed as a model to offer health care to local lower income people without health insurance.[1]

The program started on October 1, 2008 with a plan to accommodate 2,200 people in a salary range of $35,000 to $63,600 for a family of four.[2] Plans were to increase this number by 2000 enrollees each year thereafter.[3]

Services are also offered to those who become unemployed.[4]

Details

The program is open to those who make between 117% and 300% of the federal poverty income level and are not eligible for Medicaid. It costs between $50 and $80 monthly, and it provides physician visits and prescription drugs.[1][5]

It is not considered a health insurance program and does not cover any care received outside the boundaries of Howard County.[3]

The program, which costs $2.8 million annually to operate, is funded with a combination of premiums, county funds, and private donations[6][3]

Issues

The program has shown to be difficult to sell, falling below expectations. Initially, the county had presumed that they would need to hold a lottery to determine which of the county's 15,000 uninsured residents would be getting its 2,200 slots.[7]

It was found that many when they attempted to sign up for the Healthy Howard program were actually eligible for other health care programs.

Future

It has been predicted that if national health care reform is passed, there will be no need for Healthy Howard to continue. Some, however, believe the program can be converted into a health insurance plan.[1]

External links

  • Official website
  • [1]
  • Healthy Howard on Facebook

References

  1. ^ a b c Dash, Julekha (August 14, 2009). "Health reform could mean the end for Healthy Howard program". Baltimore Business Journal. 
  2. ^ Simmonsen, Derek (January 8, 2009). "County launches Healthy Howard outreach". Howard County Times. 
  3. ^ a b c Aratani, Lori (September 30, 2008). "Howard Health Initiative Ready to Enroll Uninsured". The Washington Post. 
  4. ^ Simmonsen, Derek (February 6, 2009). "Healthy Howard opens to newly unemployed". Howard County Times. 
  5. ^ Siegel, Robert (June 16, 2009). "In New Model, County Offers Low-Cost Health Care". National Public Radio. 
  6. ^ Trapp, Doug (December 3, 2007). "Maryland county idea offers access for uninsured". American Medical News. 
  7. ^ Aratani, Lori (February 24, 2009). "Low-Cost Health Care in Howard Not an Easy Sell". The Washington Post. 
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