Bill Willson has multiple sclerosis.
But unlike 6,000 Utahns whose medical conditions have labeled them "uninsurable," Willson is better off thanks to an employer who provides him coverage.As the chairman of the Comprehensive Health Insurance Pool Board, which was created by lawmakers last year to come up with a proposal for a state insurance plan for "uninsurables," Willson knows even that isn't enough.
"I'm locked into working for a big company if I want coverage," said Willson, who is executive director of the Utah Community Health Plan, an Intermountain Health Care company. "From a moral standpoint, that's unacceptable."
The board has drafted a state insurance plan that would provide coverage for all of the state's "uninsurables," not just those employed by large companies that can afford to absorb the extra medical costs associated with chronic conditions.
Those companies that now offer insurance to employees or employee dependents like Willson would be able to put them under the state plan by sharing the cost of coverage.
Employees or employee dependents who work for small companies that haven't been able to offer medical insurance - or who are self-employed - would be able to purchase coverage directly from the state.
Willson and members of the insurance pool board met with Gov. Norm Bangerter Wednesday to detail their plans and lobby for funding.
They received good news. Bangerter told them he has included $3 million to put the state in the insurance business in his proposed fiscal 1991-92 budget, which will be released next week.
That could be enough money to keep the plan going indefinitely, although heavy utilization of the plan may require future subsidies, according to a board-commissioned study.
"We have at least a 95 percent chance of not spending more than $3 million," Willson told the governor. "We can handle anything except the worst-case scenario."
If approved by the 1991 Legislature, the $3 million would make medical insurance available to Utahns who haven't been able to obtain coverage anywhere else for between about $150 and $300 a month.
Two plans would be offered, one with a $1,000 deductible and a $2,000 annual limit on out-of-pocket expenses and a second option with a $500 deductible with a $1,500 annual cap.
Those insured by the state would have a lifetime benefit limit of $500,000 and could receive no more than $150,000 in benefits during a single year.