More than 6,000 Utahns are in a situation that leaves them reeling on the edge of financial disaster - even though they are employed and earning decent wages. These are people with chronic medical conditions that make it impossible for them to get medical insurance - the so-called uninsurables.
The poor have access to Medicaid. The elderly have Medicare. Most working people have company insurance plans for themselves and their dependents. But the uninsurables are self-employed or work for small companies that cannot cover the situation. And privately obtained individual insurance is not available to them at almost any price.Yet there is a ray of hope in Gov. Norm Bangerter's proposed 1991-92 state budget to be presented to the Legislature in January. It calls for $3 million to make insurance coverage available to Utahns who have not been able to obtain it anywhere else.
The state-sponsored insurance would not be free. In fact, it could be rather expensive, but it would at least provide health insurance where none now exists. Premiums would be $150 to $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 and a $1,500 annual cap.
Barring some worst-case scenario, the $3 million and the interest it earns should be enough to keep the plan going indefinitely. Extremely heavy use of the insurance pool might require an additional subsidy at some future time, but it seems to solve a major problem for a small investment.
This is one of those situations where private industry cannot get the job done. For a relatively minor allocation, the state can save thousands of Utahns - who will be making their own significant payments - from economic disaster. It is an appropriation the Legislature ought to make.