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Healthy Workers universal health care coverage program in Santa Clara County for small business

A sustainable community is built on cooperative exchange of goods and services -- including health care. Not insurance. Health care for daily needs. Santa Clara County puts priorities in order for their residents with a somewhat universal health care plan.

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Once again, local government is stepping up to the plate when the big players at the state and federal level won't.

The coalition that developed the nation’s first universal health care program for children has implemented a universal health care plan to provide affordable, comprehensive health coverage for small businesses and their employees in Santa Clara County, CA.

Called the Healthy Workers program, the plan is designed to expand health care coverage to uninsured working adults in the county and will be voluntary for employers.

Small businesses in California say their No. 1 concern is being able to offer affordable health care to their employees. They’re being priced out of the market by health insurance rate increases.

The local Santa Clara coalition includes Working Partnerships USA, the Santa Clara Family Health Plan and the Santa Clara Valley Health & Hospital System. Jody Meacham is spokesman for Working Partnerships USA, one of the groups that helped create the Healthy Children insurance program in the county.

Santa Clara Healthy Workers Program for Small Businesses and Employees

  • Healthy Workers will be available to the 90,000 uninsured people who work at small businesses, if the businesses enroll in it.
  • The Healthy Workers program is designed for small businesses that employ two to 50 workers.
  • Employees must be from the ages of 19 to 64 years old, live in the county, earn approximately $18 an hour or less and work at least 20 hours a week.

That is not exactly "universal" coverage. But it's a start for many small businesses and families. And it covers humane basic health care, which is of immediate concern for many parents.

Healthy Workers will provide comprehensive benefits and include outpatient, inpatient, prescription drug, emergency, mental health and specialty care. The program will have a $5 to $10 co-payment.

Workers who sign up for the plan may receive services at Valley Medical Center or participating county and community clinics.

The coalition's spokesperson explains that the cost is split among the worker, the employer and the community.

The cost to the worker will be $75 a month; for the employer, the cost will be $150 a month per employee.

The community’s share is in the form of a discounted plan provided by the Santa Clara Valley Health and Hospital System. It will be administered by the Santa Clara County Family Health Plan.

Hurrah for this community! This is a great and compassionate step forward!

Healthy Workers offers comprehensive coverage with low premiums and no deductibles at roughly half the cost of competitive plans. The Santa Clara Family Health Plan begins enrolling employers and employees in Healthy Workers March 1, 2010.

For more information, call Ann Gray at the Santa Clara Family Health Plan at (408) 410-0811 or email at agray@scfhp.com.

Edited by Carolyn Allen
| small business | employee benefits | health care | california | sustainable business |

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