April 22, 2020
COUNTY TO EXPAND HEALTHCARE COVERAGE FOR MIDDLE AND LOW-INCOME FAMILIES
SAN JOSE – The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted Tuesday to subsidize 100% of healthcare costs for families of four making up to $105,000 (up to $51,000 for individuals) who are receiving medically necessary services at the County’s VMC hospitals and clinics. This program will also subsidize healthcare costs for families making between $105,000 to $170,000 on a sliding scale from 25% – 70% for VMC services.
County Supervisor Joe Simitian, who proposed such an expansion in his State of the County address a year ago, called the move, “a real step forward for Santa Clara County families.” Simitian noted that roughly 100,000 Santa Clara County residents are currently uninsured, and said the new program has the potential to cover 20,000 or more of those residents.
Simitian said the new program will reach more residents by being, “less expensive, simpler to apply for, and by expanding the pool of folks eligible to apply.”
“I don’t care who you are, where you came from, or how much money you’ve got in your pocket. Every man, woman and child in this County should get the health care they need. It’s the right thing to do, and it’s the smart thing to do,” said Simitian, who serves as Chair of the County’s Health and Hospital Committee.
The County’s new program is designed to improve access to preventative care and primary care and reduce emergency and/or inpatient care.
“One of the ways we make sure our County residents get the health care they need is by making sure they have access. For some of us, that means the health insurance we receive from our employer. For those of a certain age, it’s Medicare. For people of modest means who don’t have employer-provided health insurance, it’s Medi-Cal.”
Simitian noted, however, the challenge of getting healthcare to those in the “missing middle” – people without insurance who don’t qualify for Medi-Cal or Medicare but can’t afford market rate insurance. This effort is designed to specifically target that demographic. The program will be available to those that are not eligible for health insurance or those with medical bills exceeding 10% of household income.
“Over the years, we’ve focused on expanding health insurance because making sure folks are covered is both good for your health, and frankly, the wisest way to make careful use of taxpayer dollars. It ensures that people are not showing up at our emergency rooms unnecessarily, in need of costly critical care, and without insurance to cover the cost,” said Simitian. “The new coverage plan,” he said, “builds on that effort.”
“Here in Santa Clara County, if it’s humanly possible, we’ll get you the care you need,” said Simitian.