Enrollment in high-risk health pools for uninsured moving slowly

Aug 26th, 2010 | By Hot News Reporter | Category: Insurance Today

(IFAwebnews) – The Obama Administration’s attempt to provide coverage to people with pre-existing conditions appears to be garnering a less than enthusiastic response.

About 3,600 people have applied for coverage through the federal program, and about 1,200 people have been approved for state high-risk health insurance pools, according to a report by Kaiser Health News, citing state and federal data.

“It’s early,” Michael Keough, executive director of the North Carolina Health Insurance Risk Pool, told Kaiser Health News. “ But thus far interest in the program is lower than we expected.

The North Carolina program, which began taking applications July 1, had 314 applicants, of which 158 had been approved to participate, according to the report.

The high-risk health insurance pools are among the first steps in the federal overhaul of health reform in the U.S. In 2014, individuals will be able to compare and buy health insurance from state health exchanges. The reform of health insurance in the U.S. was approved by Congress and President Barack Obama in March.

Not all states have their coverage for people suffering from pre-existing in place yet so officials told Kaiser Family News that it’s too early to provide a complete picture of its effect on the overall health insurance marketplace.

Exactly 22 states declined the offer of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services funds for the high-risk pools, citing fear that they will have to pony their own money to continue the program. Those states’ residents seeking coverage for a pre-existing condition may enroll through the federal Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan program.

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