Each year thousands of Utah residents struggle to cover the cost of health care. Many simply choose to go uninsured or to use emergency services whenever a medical issue arises. To combat this, the state of Utah has created several medical assistance programs, many of them aimed at those populations historically and traditionally hardest hit. These medical assistance programs offer low-cost to no-cost medical coverage for those participants who are considered low-income or extremely low income. Many health clinics are located throughout the state that offer a sliding fee scale, while other nonprofit organizations partner with the state government to offer health care services to low-income and uninsured UT residents who do not have access to medical care. The Health Care Safety Net service aims at connecting uninsured or underinsured populations to the programs and providers who can assist. The following medical assistance programs are the most utilized and prevalent throughout the state.
Medicaid in Utah
Utah did not elect to take the Medicaid expansion package offered by the Affordable Care Act. However, working with state legislators the services were expanded utilizing the traditional and original program. Medicaid is a larger parent organization that funds and directs medical assistance to specific groups. For example, there are special Medicaid programs for children, women who are pregnant, the elderly, blind or disabled UT residents or women who have cancer. Applicants can apply for coverage in person, online or by mail. The Department of Workforce Services (DWS) is responsible for verifying information and determining eligibility.
Utah’s Partnership for Prescription Assistance
This is a free program available for any Utah resident to use. The service is a referral and research tool that matches necessary prescriptions to companies or organizations who offer the medications for free, or nearly free. This program boasts that it has assisted more than 10 million patients in the U.S. since 2005. As a single point of access to almost five hundred patient prescription assistance programs, this organization has managed to offer access to thousands of prescription medicines once deemed too expensive for those with no insurance or whose insurance will not cover certain medications.
Children's Health Insurance Program in Utah
The medical children’s program is called Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and is a health insurance plan for Utah children who do not have access to any other type of insurance. It offers exams and preventive services, including immunizations. Most visits do not require a co-payment. In general, children become eligible because they are not insured, are younger than 19 years of age and are legal citizens or residents of the United States. It can take up to four weeks to process an application. Pre-existing conditions are not considered when determining eligibility for children, but families should be aware that most who qualify will still have to pay a small premium on a quarterly basis. Currently, that amount is $75, but it can change from year to year. Native Americans have this requirement waived.
Baby Your Baby Program in Utah
The Utah Department of Health in partnership with the Intermountain Healthcare program provides information for pregnant women in Utah. Financial aid is offered through this program to temporarily assist women so that they can pay for prenatal care. It is a type of Prenatal Medicaid and is based on the monthly income and how many people are living in the home. Once the card is issued, the services will cover all prenatal care and delivery charges.
Affordable Health Care in Utah
The Affordable Health Care program, often referred to as Obamacare, is offered in Utah through the federal health exchange. It is through this portal that families can see if they qualify for subsidized health care. Last year, Utah saw one of the largest increases in enrollment at over 12 percent. That makes an additional 197,187 residents who now have health care coverage. To find out if a family or individual qualifies for subsidies, the user needs to provide information about his or her circumstances when prompted on the platform. After the information has been tabulated by the software, a series of options and plans are presented as well as how much of a subsidy the individual or family qualifies for.
UPP (Utah’s Premium Partnership for Health Insurance)
This program is offered to families or individuals who are not currently insured or are enrolled in the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). UPP assists with coverage payments when enrolling into an employer’s health insurance plan and is based on income and family size. Qualified participants receive money per individual in the household each month to offset the cost of the insurance.
Medicare in Utah
Medicare is offered to most Utah residents upon turning 65 years of age. The program is offered in a series of plans, labeled A, B and D. Part C is a combination and expansion of both the Plan A and B. While Plan A is issued automatically, and at no cost for most Utah residents, Plan B is optional for participants and will incur a monthly fee. Part D is a prescription coverage plan that can be enrolled in at the same time and covers those medications that the other plans will not cover.