HHS Secretary Sebelius Announces Pre-existing condition insurance plan

The Affordable Care Act Program will provide temporary coverage for Americans who lack insurance due to pre-existing conditions now through 2014, when the new insurance exchanges are established.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced earlier this summer the establishment of a new Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) that will offer coverage to uninsured Americans who have been unable to obtain health coverage because of pre-existing health conditions.

The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, which will be administered either by individual states or by the Department of Health and Human Services, will provide a new health coverage option for Americans who have been uninsured for at least six months, have been unable to get health coverage because of a health condition, and are a U.S. citizen or are legally residing in the United States.

Created under the Affordable Care Act, the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan is a transitional program until 2014, when insurers will be banned from discriminating against adults with pre-existing conditions, and individuals and small businesses will have access to more affordable private insurance choices through new competitive Exchanges. In 2014, members of Congress will also purchase their insurance through Exchanges.

“For too long, Americans with pre-existing conditions have been locked out of our health insurance market,” said Secretary Kathleen Sibelius. “Today, the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan gives them a new option – the same insurance coverage as a healthy individual if they’ve been uninsured for at least six months because of a medical condition. This program will provide people the help they need as the nation transitions to a more competitive and fair marketplace in 2014.”

The Affordable Care Act provides $5 billion in federal funding to support Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans in every state. Some states have requested that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services run their Pre-Existing Insurance Plan. Other states have requested that they run the program themselves. For more information about how the plan is being administered where you live, please visit HHS’ new consumer website, www.HealthCare.gov.

“Health coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions has historically been unobtainable or failed to cover the very conditions for which they need medical care,” said Jay Angoff, Director of the Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (OCIIO), which is overseeing the program. “The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan is designed to address these challenges by offering comprehensive coverage at a reasonable cost.”

Gene Osofsky is an East Bay elder law attorney in California. Gene Osofsky specializes in Medi-Cal planning, wills, probate, trusts, nursing home issues, special needs planning, and disability planning. To learn more about elder law and The Law Offices of Osofsky & Osofsky, visit Lawyerforseniors.com.

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