MEDIA RELEASE: North Carolina's State Health Plan Executive Director Misrepresents National Health Reform

RALEIGH (April 22, 2010) -- At a State Health Plan Blue Ribbon Task Force meeting this morning, State Health Plan Executive Director Jack Walker estimated that half of the plan's membership would abandon the plan after the implementation of national health reform.

This is simply incorrect, said health policy experts from the NC Justice Center's Health Access Coalition.

Employees with incomes under 400% Federal Poverty Level ($88,200 for a family of 4) are only eligible for the health insurance exchange if premiums exceed 8 percent of household income. Only then could an employee leave the State Health Plan and get vouchers or subsidies to purchase insurance coverage. Because employees do not pay a premium they are not eligible for the exchange.

Dependents of state employees with incomes under 400% Federal Poverty Level ($88,200 for a family of 4) could purchase coverage in through the exchange if family coverage costs more than 8 percent of household income.

The purpose of health reform is to preserve the employer-based insurance system while using exchanges and the expansion of public programs to ensure that coverage is available to everyone not receiving affordable benefits at work.  Estimates are that the number of people covered by employer plans would remain relatively stable after the implementation of national health reform.

For more information see these health reform summaries:




FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Adam Searing, Health Access Coalition, 919.889.8738; Adam Linker, Health Access Coalition, 252.375.6520; Jeff Shaw. communications director, NC Justice Center, 503.551.3615.