Utah health officials are mulling over the idea of giving health insurance to cash-strapped people in exchange for community service.
If someone can’t afford to pay Medicaid co-pays and premiums, they could still get Primary Care Network benefits if they lend a hand to certain nonprofits, schools, or businesses for eight hours a month, according to the Deseret News. The state can’t start the pilot program without federal approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, though, and officials still haven’t decided whether they will seek the waiver -- they have until Jan. 1.
Opponents, including Utah Health Policy Project Director Judi Hilman, told the paper that the program’s administrative costs would be too high and that "it is getting us so far from the basic need of health care for these individuals."
PCN benefits offer only primary and preventive health care, including doctor visits, prescription medication and dental examinations.
State legislators passed a law (H.B. 211) that Gov. Gary Herbert signed in March calling for the creation of a community service Medicaid pilot program.