During 1996 and 1997, the National Health Foundation led a coalition of private sector organizations to test the feasibility of developing a low-cost primary care-only insurance product for uninsured Los Angeles County residents. Project staff conducted:
- Research on insurance product design.
- Focus groups with potential consumers.
- Meetings with health plan representatives, provider groups, and community and small business organizations.
The National Health Foundation, based in Los Angeles, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health care delivery and access.
- Enrollment in other states' programs was relatively low, except in several highly subsidized programs.
- Enrollee dollar contributions varied among existing programs because of different subsidy levels, yet benefit structures appeared relatively comprehensive, including some inpatient coverage.
- Subsidization of individual enrollees was typically based on threshold income levels, with enrollees above 175 percent or 200 percent of the federal poverty level receiving no subsidy.
- Focus group participants were generally interested in low-cost insurance products, and valued insurance as a concept.
- Focus group participants generally preferred a full-benefit product, but a low-cost primary care-only insurance product was not rejected and was generally preferred over catastrophic and preventive care products.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supported this project through a grant of $141,904.