States’ Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans Help Bridge the Coverage Gap

by Rebecca Farley on September 7, 2011

When the Affordable Care Act’s coverage
expansions are fully implemented in 2014, millions of previously uninsured Americans will have access to health insurance – without risking being denied because of a pre-existing health condition. In the meantime, the ACA established state-based pre-existing condition insurance plans (PCIP) to help bridge the coverage gap. These temporary high-risk pools make health insurance coverage available to individuals who have been unable to obtain it because of their health status or conditions.

A new issue brief from The Commonwealth Fund examines PCIP enrollment trends, benefits and premiums, and out-of-pocket costs. Enrollment has been more modest than expected, with approximately 21,000 people enrolled as of April 30, 2011, but the PCIP program is of critical importance. By providing a temporary safety net for the “uninsurable,” PCIPs have allowed thousands of people to get the care they need and prevented some people’s conditions from progressing to disabilities. Recent federal and state reductions in PCIP premiums and deductibles will help make the plans more affordable.

This brief is part of the Commonwealth Fund’s Realizing Health Reform’s Potential series. Click the link to read more briefs about how the ACA will benefit different populations and groups, as well as improve insurance coverage and change the delivery of care.


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