Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Low-cost health plan available to Miami-Dade residents

A low-cost health plan is now available for Miami-Dade County residents who don't have insurance.


Miami-Dade residents who don't have health insurance can sign up for a new plan aimed at helping the estimated 600,000 uninsured in the county.

Called Miami-Dade Blue, the program went into effect July 1. It's a joint venture between the county and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida and is designed with low premiums and low co-pays.


Depending on age and gender, individuals can expect to pay between $70 and $300 a month for coverage, which includes regular check-ups, pharmacy, labs, emergency room visits, basic dental care and hospital coverage.


An obstacle the county faced was bargaining prices with hospitals and healthcare providers, Martinez said. The program has about 1,500 doctors in the network, with most of them agreeing to take about $50 for a basic office visit, which is the amount the plan will pay. Specialists will cost more.


Miami-Dade officials estimate there are 600,000 uninsured people countywide. Of those, 80 percent work but cannot afford health coverage.

The plan is open to individuals under 65, regardless of income. more...

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