Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Last call for stopgap health insurance for Utah’s poor
Health reform » Utah’s Primary Care Network covers limited preventive care.
First Published May 27 2014 03:57 pm • Last Updated May 27 2014 09:58 pm

It’s not Medicaid, but it’s the next best thing.

That’s been the selling point for Utah’s Primary Care Network (PCN), limited coverage of preventive care for working poor adults who are ineligible for traditional Medicaid.

At a glance

Can’t afford health insurance?

Enrollment is open for Utah’s Primary Care Network (PCN), limited health insurance for low-income adults. To find out if you qualify, call 1-888-222-2542 or visit www.health.utah.gov/pcn.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The program opens for enrollment on June 2 for what may be the last time. There is no deadline, but enrollment will close as available slots are filled, according to the Utah Department of Health.

Barring federal approval for an extension, the program will expire on Dec. 31, 2014.

"We don’t see why they would extend it again," said RyLee Curtis, Medicaid policy analyst for the Utah Health Policy Project (UHPP), noting that the expectation is for states like Utah to, instead, expand Medicaid.

Started in 2002 as part of then-Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt’s 10-year plan to reduce Utah’s ranks of uninsured, PCN covers doctor visits, dental and vision care and up to four prescriptions per month — but no inpatient or specialty care.

"The fiscal picture in Utah and most other states prevented traditional expansions of Medicaid to parents and people without children. It was simply too costly and would not gain widespread political support," explained Rod Betit in a Q&A on the program, published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The state had some funding, though, and "the policy question facing Utah was whether to wait for new federal funding to expand coverage to these low-income working adults, or to push the federal government to allow the state to offer a limited benefit plan," said Betit, Leavitt’s health director at the time.

Years later, in 2010, new federal funding did materialize with President Barack Obama’s health law, which pays up to 100 percent — and no less than 90 percent — of the costs to expand Medicaid.

But key Republican legislative leaders in Utah have resisted any plan to stretch the health safety net.

story continues below
story continues below

The feds have allowed Utah to continue PCN through the end of the year, but lowered the income-based eligibility threshold and removed the $50 enrollment fee.

The program is now open to uninsured adults who earn less than the federal poverty level, or $11,490 for a single adult. Previously it was open to those earning up to 150 percent of the poverty level.

Enrollment in PCN is capped at 25,000, which has never been reached due to funding limitations, said Kolbi Young, a health department spokeswoman. Currently 12,000 slots are filled and the enrollment target is about 20,000, she said.


Twitter: @KStewart4Trib

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.