"For too long, Americans with pre-existing conditions have been locked out of our health insurance market. Today, the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan gives them a new option -- the same insurance coverage as a healthy individual if they've been uninsured for at least six months because of a medical condition. This program will provide people the help they need as the nation transitions to a more competitive and fair marketplace in 2014." - HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in 2010
Yes Kathy, the biggest objective for The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was to provide access to cost effective health insurance. Back in 2010 we heard the President, HHS, and several members of Congress talk about the benefits uninsured with pre-existing conditions would receive by getting insurance through a high risk pool. This high risk pool would guarantee coverage at an affordable cost. This affordable insurance would become known as the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP).
PCIP was projected to cover 350,000 people from August 1, 2010 through December 31, 2013. To do so the government set aside $5 billion to cover the projected claims.
Actual enrollment is 135,000 and effective March 2, 2013 HHS has officially "suspended" new enrollment in the program. According to Gary Cohen, director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, the program is being suspended due to lack of funds. Cohen said:
"We’re being very careful stewards of the money that has been appropriated to us and we wanted to balance our desire to maximize the number of people who can gain from this program while making sure people who are in the program have coverage...This was the most prudent step for us to take at this point in time.”Prudent for who?
In addition to cutting off enrollment, those currently enrolled are also facing significant changes. On January 1, 2013 anyone covered under the Federal pool saw their out of pocket maximums increase from $4000 to $6250 per year. Starting in July most of the states who were running their own pools are migrating over to the Federal pool meaning that these folks will also be subject to an increase in the out of pocket maximum. Oh behalf of the many people I have helped enroll in this program I would like to ask the following:
- Why in 2011 did HHS decrease premiums for a program that has blown through the projected funding?
- Why hasn't HHS or the Obama Administration asked for funding?
- Why did the Administration vow to veto a bill that was set to be put forth in the House of Representatives?
UPDATE [HGS]: And adding insult to injury, FoIB Holly R sends us this:
"Nearly two-thirds of Americans who currently lack health insurance don't know yet if they will purchase that coverage by the Jan. 1 deadline set by the [ObamaTax]"
And worse yet, "less than half of those in the survey ... think they'll get better health care after Obamacare takes full effect. Nearly 50 percent believe the [ObamaTax] will make it more difficult for them to get tests and procedures done in a timely manner"
Sounds like they've been paying attention.