The Fishing Partnership Health Plan: A Model for Reducing the Numbers of the Working Uninsured

What effect has the establishment of the Fishing Partnership Health Plan (FPHP), a health plan developed in Massachusetts to provide subsidized coverage to uninsured commercial fisherman, many of whom operate as small business owners or employees, had on this community? The plan - developed and implemented by Caritas Christi Health Care System, the Massachusetts Fisherman’s Partnership, and Tufts Health Plan - began offering services in December 1997. As of September 30, 1999, it had 683 subscribers with 1437 covered lives. Coverage was subsidized by state and federal sources, and the largest premium subsidy available is 46%. The researchers: 1) determined the utilization and costs of FPHP as compared to a control group of insured persons matched on several characteristics; 2) identified factors associated with enrolling or deciding not to enroll; and 3) examined the process of developing the FPHP in order to identify critical steps, issues, and roles of key players to determine the feasibility of implementing a similar model with other uninsured working populations. This study provides policymakers with a better understanding of whether the FPHP model should be considered as a model for other uninsured groups.