Monday, November 15, 2010

Flawed premise, Predictable results

Over the past few months, Bob's done a yeoman's job of tracking the Epic Fail that is the PCIP (Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan). The stated purpose of said plan is to make health insurance available to the (approximately) 375,000 Americans whom HHS Secretary Shecantbeserious claims are currently uninsured because of pre-existing medical problems.

At least, that's how many folks Ms Shecantbeserious claimed would purchase health insurance through the much vaunted PCIP program. After all, the plans are guaranteed issue and chock full of great bennies (including maternity!). What's not to love?

Plenty, as it turns out:

"The $5 billion program started in July ... in North Dakota ... (l)iterally, one person has signed up ... Four people have enrolled in West Virginia ... 8,011 nationwide as of November 1."

As I said, Epic Fail. Offhand, I can think of a handful of reasons for this underwhelming response:

1) The requirement that one must have been uninsured for at least 6 months prior to applying.

2) The fact that (in most cases) coverage is not immediate.

3) Premiums that rival anything in the open market.

4) For the most part, insurance is not bought, it is sold. A while back, Mike keenly observed that there are thousands of people eligible for Medicaid (including SCHIP) who never bother to apply. Why would this program be any different?

There is one potential solution, with which Ohio has sort of flirted: why not sell these plans? Call me crazy, but what if there was already in place a network of professionals who could help these folks make informed choices, help them with claims or other issues which arise, and hold their hands through the process?

Yeah, that's just crazy talk.

[Hat Tip: Hot Air]
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