Even before the pandemic, too many people struggled to afford their health care costs or went without care altogether.
Small businesses have struggled to provide their employees with affordable private insurance and gig/contract workers remain on their own to find coverage. A public health insurance option is an emerging solution that would create a high quality, dependable, more affordable option for health insurance.
Why Public Option is a Priority
Advancing solutions that make health care coverage more dependable and affordable is central to USofCare’s vision for the future of health care.
Getting the health coverage that people need has become too expensive for too many Americans and as a result it is one of the top reasons Americans go into debt and file for bankruptcy. Meanwhile, the health care industry and insurance companies are posting record profits by setting prices that are out of reach for individuals and families, particularly if they are not provided affordable health coverage from their employer.
A public health insurance option, often called a “public option” is an emerging solution that would create a high quality, dependable, more affordable option for health insurance.
It is a government-regulated insurance plan that is often privately-run and made available to individuals, small businesses, and/or other entities, like nonprofit organizations. It increases competition and gives both businesses and individuals the freedom to choose a health insurance plan that’s more affordable and dependable. A public health insurance option allows the state or federal government to ensure that prices are reasonable, while benefits and care remain high-quality. Those who choose to participate in a public option plan would pay premiums, just as they would with a traditional private plan, without the inflated overhead and administrative costs of private insurers. Those who like their current health insurance plan would be able to keep it, and would not pay anything additional for their care.
USofCare is running a multi-state strategy to expand coverage through state-created public option policies. We are actively partnering with advocates in Colorado, Connecticut and Nevada to advance a public option in each of those states. This work includes:
- Providing technical assistance on policy development
- Helping establish or expand local coalitions
- Providing localized public opinion research and messaging support, among other items
Public Option Updates
The American Rescue Plan made strides toward durable coverage. States can — and should — do more.
Dependable Coverage, Public Option, State Efforts
State Public Health Insurance Option: Advancing Equitable, Affordable, and Dependable Coverage
COVID-19, Dependable Coverage, Public Option
COVID-19, Open Enrollment, and the Importance of Insurance Coverage