Temporary High-Risk Pool Short on Funding

healthcare20reformAlthough between 5.8 and seven million Americans may qualify for healthcare coverage through the temporary high-risk pool program created as part of healthcare reform, the $5 billion set aside for use between now and 2014 may cover only 200,000 patients annually.

The high-risk pool, created by the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, provides subsidized coverage to uninsured individuals with pre-existing medical conditions.  One portion of the law provides income-based subsidies so healthcare coverage is more affordable and accessible.  Because most of the provisions do not become effective until January of 2014, however, the limited funding means available dollars will have to be stretched as far as possible, said Paul B. Ginsburg, Ph.D., NICHR director of research.  The National Institute for Health Care Reform (NIHCR) has identified key policy considerations in its Health Coverage for the High-Risk Uninsured:  Policy Options for Design of the Temporary High-Risk Pool policy analysis.

According to Kaiser Health News, many people with medical conditions may be unable to obtain coverage.  “That fear — along with partisan considerations — prompted officials in 20 states to decline to establish their own federally financed pools, opting to leave the task to Washington.  Officials in those states, predominantly Republicans, worry that they would face intense pressure to pick up the burden if the money runs out.”

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