New Funding For Hard-To-Insure People Could Ease Burden On States' High-Risk Pools

The health law will allocated $5 billion to help establish a federal high-risk insurance pool to help tide over people with preexisting conditions until 2014 when broader parts of the law kick in, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. The plan could even benefit states like Wisconsin, which already have high-risk pools at the state level. "The federal money would enable HIRSP [the state pool] to offer health plans that can be more affordable than what it now offers, and that cover pre-existing conditions immediately. The high-risk pool now has a six-month waiting period before pre-existing conditions are covered for anyone who is uninsured" (Boulton, 4/6).

The Missoulian: "It's not known yet how many people will benefit from the pool, what type of coverage it will provide or what it will cost. But it's likely to be similar to a high-risk insurance plan that Montana already has: the Montana Comprehensive Health Association, a subsidized plan that writes health insurance for about 3,000 Montanans. In fact, the MCHA board, composed mostly of insurance company officials, will administer the new pool" (Dennison, 4/7).

KHN related coverage: The First Test Of The New Health Law: Covering Hard-To-Insure People (Carey, 3/26).

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