government

HHS unveils high-risk insurance plan

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted July 12, 2010

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Uninsured Americans with preexisting conditions have a new federally sponsored health insurance option in 21 states, and residents in the remaining states will have a state-based option by the end of the summer. The health reform law allocated $5 billion for the creation of a new high-risk health plan to be administered by either the Dept. of Health and Human Services or individual states.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Americans with preexisting conditions have been locked out of the insurance market for too long. "Today, the preexisting 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," she said in a July 1 statement.

HHS will operate the high-risk plan in 21 states: Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming.

The District of Columbia and 29 states will operate the plan themselves: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Sebelius directed individuals to a new website, where Americans can sign up for the high-risk plan and learn more about other insurance options, including Medicare, Medicaid, other public programs and private health insurance (link).

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2010/07/12/gvbf0712.htm.

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