A slow-starting insurance program for people with pre-existing conditions who have struggled to find health insurance has more than doubled in size since February but still lags far below early estimates. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that more than 18,000 have enrolled in the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. That remains far below the 200,000 people HHS officials previously said it was expected to include at any one time.
Sebelius vows to boost pre-existing conditions program
Sebelius promised additional efforts to grow the program more quickly.
“For many, these plans provide access to life-saving treatment, so it is vital that we continue to find those eligible and get them enrolled,” Sebelius said.
The $5 billion program, launched in July 2010, aims to provide bridge coverage until state insurance exchanges are established in January 2014.
Many people who have wanted to enroll in the plans could not afford the premiums, according to an HHS official. So the department is trying to get the private insurers and states that offer the plans to lower those premiums. The federal government has contracted with the Government Employees Health Association—a private insurer—to provide coverage in 23 states and the District of Columbia, while 27 other states run their own pre-existing condition insurance programs.
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.