HHS Seeks To Draw More People With Medical Problems Into Health Plans
The Hill: HHS To Lower Premiums For High-Risk Pools
The Health and Human Services Department (HHS) announced new steps Tuesday to bolster enrollment in insurance pools for sick people, which have come under fire from Republicans after falling short of their enrollment goals. The department announced that it is cutting premiums and easing eligibility criteria for the high-risk pools. HHS administers the high-risk pools in 23 states; the rest are state-run. The department plans to lower premiums in 18 of those 23 states - some by as much as 40 percent (Baker, 5/31).
The Associated Press: Gov't Cuts Rates For Hard-To-Insure Patients
The government says it will cut premiums by up to 40 percent and make other changes to make it easier for people with pre-existing medical conditions to get health insurance. The move Tuesday comes as enrollment in the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan continues to lag far behind expectations, often because people can't afford the premiums or find it too hard to meet enrollment requirements. The insurance program is part of President Barack Obama's signature health care law (5/31).
Kaiser Health News: Feds Cutting Fees, Requirements For High-Risk Health Insurance Pools
The premiums will drop as much as 40 percent in 17 states plus the District where the federally administered plans operates, the administration estimates. These decreases will help bring premiums closer to the rates in each state's individual insurance market. In the six states where high-risk plan premiums were already similar to what healthy people pay for individual plans, premiums will remain the same (Galewitz, 5/31).
The National Journal: U.S. Lowers Premiums For High-Risk Insurance Plan
Many patients who want to join the federal government's new high-risk insurance pool will be able to do so simply with a letter from a doctor or other health care provider saying they have a preexisting medical condition, the Department of Health and Human Services said Tuesday. ... "Starting July 1, 2011, people applying for coverage can simply provide a letter from a doctor, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner dated within the past 12 months stating that they have or, at any time in the past, had a medical condition, disability, or illness," HHS said in a statement. "Applicants will no longer have to wait on an insurance company to send them a denial letter" (McCarthy, 5/31).
The Palm Beach Post: Obama Administration's Pre-Existing Insurance Premium Cut By 40 Percent Here
The discount is possible because the $5 billion set aside for the program has hardly been used. Only 18,000 people nationwide have enrolled (Singer, 5/31).
Meanwhile, one state is making a similar move.
Charlotte Observer: N.C. High-Risk Insurance Drops Premiums
The state's high-risk health insurance pool is lowering its premiums, starting July 1. New and renewing members of Inclusive Health, created in 2007 by the N.C. legislature, will get reductions of 1 percent to 22 percent, depending on benefit plans. The lower rates are made possible by a new law that also broadens eligibility for the N.C. Health Insurance Risk Pool (Garloch, 5/31).