Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan

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High-Risk Insurance Pool Helps … But What About Cost?

By: Kamal Menghrajani

Because people who enroll in the pool have been uninsured, there is pent-up demand for health care, experts say. (D. Sharon Pruitt: Flickr)

Because people who enroll in the pool have been uninsured, there is pent-up demand for health care, experts say. (D. Sharon Pruitt: Flickr)

Thousands of California’s sickest residents are already benefitting from the federal health care law. The Affordable Care Act says that people cannot be denied health insurance for a pre-existing condition. Until the law goes into full effect in 2014, the government has created a bridge program to help–the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, or PCIP. But this high-risk insurance program is proving to be much more expensive than expected.

California is spending three times more than anticipated to insure the people who have enrolled in this program. Before the program launched in 2010, California projected that the program would cost about $12,000 a year for each member. But a year later the administrators of the program determined it was costing more than $37,000 per patient.

According to a report [PDF] from the White House, the cost of care for PCIP patients across the country is twice as much as originally projected. Continue reading