The Department of Health and Human Services has just announced that it will reduce premiums in the temporary high-risk pool pool program, in an effort to increase fledgling enrollment rates. “Premiums for the Federally-administered Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) will drop as much as 40 percent in 18 States, and eligibility standards will be eased in 23 States and the District of Columbia to ensure more Americans with pre-existing conditions have access to affordable health insurance,” a press release from the agency reads. Approximately 18,000 Americans are currently enrolled in in the program.
On a conference call with reporters, the agency stressed that no new dollars were being appropriated to fund the changes and said that the reductions in the federal pools would be paid for with the $5 billion already appropriated under ACA and member premiums. The federal pools will also have looser eligibility rules that would allow enrollees to present a doctor’s note about a pre-existing condition, saving them from the trouble of applying for and then being denied coverage by a commercial carrier in order to qualify for the PCIP.