PEPP proposes a health insurance plan -- UrCare -- to provide expanded MiCare health care coverage to the majority of Micronesians who presently have no medical insurance.
For over 30 years, MiCare has been the only FSM-wide health care managed program. Originally designed as a health insurance plan for employees of the FSM national government only, MiCare has gradually expanded to the point where it now also covers their families, state government employees and dependents, students at FSM colleges, and employees and enrolled depenents of participating private businesses.
Even with this expansion of coverage, MiCare still covers only about 20 percent of Micronesia's population, which primarily consists of subsistence farmers, fishermen and their families. Moreover, MiCare has significant funding issues, not least of which is the fact that the Compact funding for Micronesia's off-island medical referrals is rapidly being phased out through large budget decrements. UrCare would offer affordable coverage to the remainder of Micronesia's population. Also, by establishing a regional medical diagnostic facility in the FSM itself, UrCare aims to obviate the need for most off-island referrals.
Medical care for indigent FSM citizens is a costly social and financial burden affecting Guam and Hawaii in particular. Much of the U.S. Department of the Interior-administered Compact Impact fund is used to offset the costs incurred by Guam and Hawaii in furnishing emergency medical care to Micronesian patients who have no medical insurance coverage. By considerably expanding health care coverage to underserved populations throughout the FSM and mitigating the adverse impact of indigent Micronesians on other government, PEPP's UrCare would hopefully serve as a successful model for health care in other Pacific Island countries.