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States Try Creative Ways to Expand Insurance Coverage

JANUARY 20, 2005 -- States' efforts to cover the uninsured are as varied as their populations, fiscal status, and political environment, according to a new report that tracks state health coverage expansion initiatives.

Nevertheless, "[t]imes are still difficult for states and for coverage in general" and the number of uninsured has not diminished, concludes the 2005 "State of the States" report, which summarizes state activities to expand health coverage in the past year. "The silver lining is that state leaders continue to be creative in finding new opportunities to expand coverage," the study says.

Maryland, for example, passed legislation that required employers to pay their "fair share" of health costs.

Massachusetts is considering an individual mandate and Pennsylvania developed a partnership with Blue Cross insurance plans to fund coverage through the state's "adultBasic" program.

The report is produced by the State Coverage Initiatives program, a national initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation administered by AcademyHealth.

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