Reforming the U.S. Health Care System

Policy Backgrounders | Health

No. 149
Monday, April 26, 1999
by John C. Goodman & Merrill Matthews

IX. Health Insurance And Workfare

A. Making Workfare Work

  1. For many families, one of the biggest obstacles to getting and staying off welfare is the lack of a private insurance alternative to Medicaid.
  2. This plan makes it possible for low-income families to buy into an employer health plan or to purchase insurance on their own.

B. Bridging The Gap Between Employer-Provided Insurance In Different Jobs.

  1. A related problem concerns people who are laid off or are temporarily unemployed while they are between jobs.
  2. Periods of unemployment are typically periods when family financial resources are very limited.
  3. The refundable health insurance tax credit can bridge the gap, financing the purchase of short-term insurance or funding COBRA payments that continue coverage under a previous employer's plan.
  4. Funds in a Roth MSA can also help solve the problem, since such funds can be used to pay premiums during periods of temporary unemployment.

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