Herbert’s Plan for Reducing ER Visits

The Washington Post looks at Gov. Herbert’s Medicaid expansion proposal, which would “reward people for agreeing to stay out of the ER for non-emergency care, but also penalize them when they wind up there.”

Reports Jason Millman:

Like most Republican governors looking to extend coverage, Herbert isn’t supporting Obamacare’s straight-forward expansion of Medicaid to all adults below 138 percent of the federal poverty level (or $16,104 for an individual). He’s been negotiating with the Obama administration for months on an expansion package that includes program reforms and requires higher-income enrollees to contribute more money to their care.

Under Herbert’s expansion plan, known as Healthy Utah, enrollees earning above the federal poverty level will pay a small premium. The price details are still being worked out with the feds, but Herbert’s office is expecting the premium to be about $15 per month for an individual. Enrollees will see their premium discounted if they opt into a plan that penalizes them with a $50 co-pay each time they use the ER for a non-emergency — that’s much higher than the usual $8 co-pay allowed under normal Medicaid rules. Utah will also offer a regular coverage plan that doesn’t include this extra penalty for overusing the ER.