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County Launches New Health Program For Uninsured Adults

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Aired 5/26/11

Thanks to a new stream of money from the federal health-reform law, San Diego County will soon unveil a health insurance program for poor adults.

— San Diego County will soon launch a program offering primary care and mental-health benefits to uninsured adults. Officials say the program will expand access to people who have been falling through the cracks.

The Low Income Health Program will target single adults who don't qualify for other publicly funded health insurance. The maximum income to get the coverage will be $14,000 a year.

Rene Santiago is deputy director of the County's Health & Human Services Agency. He said the county hopes to enroll about 22,000 people over the next 30 months.

"We're looking to target populations that actually have some kind of chronic disease," Santiago said. "(These are) the very destitute that are chronically homeless, to people who are just struggling with diabetes, hypertension, or other kind of chronic conditions."

The program will be funded by an influx of federal money from the health-care-reform law. The county plans to launch it in July.

People enrolled in the program will get primary and mental-health care at a designated community clinic that will serve as a medical home. County officials say by providing comprehensive care to poor patients, they hope to reduce the number of visits to hospital emergency rooms.

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