Few Health Insurance Options For People With Pre-Existing Conditions

The Los Angeles Times: “For people with preexisting medical conditions, looking for health insurance in the private market may feel like the ultimate fool’s errand. … When the health reform law takes full effect in 2014, insurers will no longer be able to deny coverage to people with preexisting medical conditions. In the meantime, new federally funded high-risk pools for the medically uninsurable have been established. To qualify, you have to be without insurance for six months. And you must show you have applied for, and been denied, insurance in the private market. But if you have a preexisting condition and don’t qualify for the high-risk pools, it still pays to explore options in the private insurance market.” The Times provides several tips for how to effectively search for affordable private insurance (Zamosky, 9/6).

The St. Petersburg Times: “While the pre-existing condition insurance plan does offer coverage that often is not available at any price, many Americans are quickly finding out the monthly premiums are out of their reach. Of the estimated 4 million Americans eligible for the program, only about 2,000 had applied as of Aug. 1 in the 23 states, including Florida, that opted to have the federal government run their plans. Federal officials say the plan is only meant to cover this group until 2014, when more widespread changes kick in. That year, private insurers will no longer be able to exclude people with pre-existing conditions; the government will offer subsidies for lower-income people; and health insurance exchanges will open, promising lower, more competitive rates because the risk will be spread around more” (Martin, 9/7).

Earlier, related KHN stories: New Plans For Uninsured Off To Slow Start (Galewitz, 8/19) and New Health Law Throws Lifeline to ‘Uninsurables’ (Andrews, 5/18)

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