The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced the creation of the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) making health insurance available to Americans previously denied coverage because of pre-existing health conditions.
Created under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the health care reform act), the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan will remain in effect until 2014, when health insurance companies will be banned from discriminating against adults with pre-existing conditions. Starting in 2014, individuals and small businesses will have access to what the government promises will be more affordable private insurance choices through new competitive Insurance Exchanges.
The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan will be administered either by a state or the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). So far, 21 states have chosen to have HHS administer the plans, while 29 states and the District of Columbia have chosen to run their own programs (See map).
Who Can Get Coverage? Under the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, coverage will be available to 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 residing in the United States legally.
When Will Coverage be Offered? According to HHS, coverage under the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan is now available in the 21 states where HHS is operating the program. All states which are operating their own Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans will begin enrollment by the end of this summer, with many already enrolling applicants (See map).
"For too long, Americans with pre-existing conditions have been locked out of our health insurance market," said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a press release. "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."