February 6, 2008
PUBLIC HEALTH INSURANCE FOR LOW-INCOME 19-YEAR-OLD
By: Robin K. Cohen, Principal Analyst
You asked what public health insurance might be available to a 19-year-old man who is working but has no access to employer-sponsored coverage. He has “limited financial resources.”
We assume this young man is childless and does not have a serious disability that would render him eligible for federal disability benefits (and potentially Medicaid).
Public health insurance options for a single person who is not aged, blind, or disabled are very limited. The State-Administered General Assistance (SAGA) program, which offers federally-qualified health center (FQHC)-based care, may be his only state option. To qualify for that program, he must have monthly income below $641.92 (in most parts of the state) and can have no more than $1,000 in liquid assets. (The income limit assumes a $150 earnings deduction that the Department of Social Services (DSS) allows.) DSS regional offices determine eligibility for the SAGA medical assistance program.
Aside from SAGA, the state's community health centers, including the above-mentioned FQHCs, are available to anyone, regardless of ability to pay. These are located throughout the state and typically charge a small fee based on income. A listing of these centers can be found at http://www.chcact.org/
While it is not available this year, §§15-17 of PA 07-185 and PA 07-2, JSS, could potentially help next year. This new law raises from age 19 to 26 the maximum age that a parent's individual or group health insurance plan can cover children. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2009 and applies to both new and renewed insurance plans. OLR report 2007-R-0549 describes the new law in greater detail.