High-Risk Pools Aren't the Answer

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<p>The Affordable Care Act's Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) Program has provided transitional health coverage for thousands of people who would otherwise have been uninsurable in the individual insurance market. But as The Commonwealth Fund's Sara Collins <a href="/publications/publication/2013/apr/testimony-affordable-care-acts-pre-existing-condition-insurance">explains</a>, the program's limitations point to why high-risk pools in general are an inadequate substitute for the wide range of comprehensive health reforms that will go into effect next January.</p><p>Invited to testify this afternoon at a subcommittee hearing held by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, Collins noted that since August 2010, the PCIP program has helped 135,000 previously uninsured people who were not able to gain coverage in the individual insurance market because of serious health problems, providing them with immediate coverage of preexisting conditions. But high premiums have limited enrollment and, similar to the experience of state-run high-risk pools, claims costs have far exceeded the premiums collected.</p>
<p>The major coverage provisions of the Affordable Care Act that go into effect in 2014 provide a long-term solution, Collins said. These include sweeping new insurance market reforms designed to protect people who buy health plans on their own, as well as expanded Medicaid eligibility and premium tax credits for private plans sold through the new insurance marketplaces.</p>
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