Alabama
4:27 pm
Tue September 16, 2003

Blue Cross offers health coverage for uninsured

Birmingham, AL – A new kind of health insurance policy being sold by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama could help plug a gaping hole in state medical care.

According to the state Insurance Department, uninsured Alabamians can get private health insurance through the company if they sign up by November 30th. Coverage is guaranteed for Alabama residents under 65 years old, regardless of their health, although pre-existing conditions will not be covered for 12 months.

The plan was approved by state regulators last week. Typically, such coverage can be difficult to obtain for anyone who can't buy group coverage through an employer. Assistant Insurance Commissioner Ragan Ingram said he hoped the plan will help many of the 500-thousand people in Alabama without health insurance.

Monthly premiums are 145-dollars for individuals and 320-dollars for family coverage under the plan. There is a per-person deductible of one-thousand dollars for major medical expenses such as doctors' visits. Drug coverage starts after a deductible of 250-dollars per person.

Dr. Don Williamson, state health officer, calls the new plan a -- quote -- "wonderful opportunity." Anyone interested in applying may contact Blue Cross at 1-888-215-1832.