KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

High-Risk Pools Begin Taking Applications In Some States

The Dallas Morning News: The federal government began accepting applications Thursday for coverage through high-risk insurance pools from people who have been unable to obtain insurance on the commercial market due to pre-existing conditions. "To be eligible, people must be uninsured for at least six months and have been turned down for coverage by a private insurer because of a medical problem. Applications for the insurance are available online at Coverage starts Aug. 1" (Boderson, 7/2).

Some states, including California, will administer their own versions of the pools, and may lag behind the federal government's time table. The Fresno Bee reports that many Californians are waiting for the coverage to begin, "[b]ut they'll have to wait a little longer. Applications for the Temporary Federal High Risk Pool have yet to be created. … The insurance board, which will administer the high-risk pool, hopes to have an application by August and to begin providing coverage to adults in September, [an official] said." An e-mail account opened this week to receive inquiries, however, got more than 100 messages on its first active day (Anderson, 7/1).

The Hill: "Critics of the $5 billion high-risk pool program insist it will run out of money before Jan. 1, 2014. That's when the program sunsets and health plans can no longer discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. … Administration officials insist they can make changes to the program to ensure it lasts until 2014, and that it may not have to turn away sick people" (Pecquet, 7/1).

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