Affordable health insurance for people with pre-existing conditions will now be available to those who successfully enroll in a new high-risk insurance pool starting July 1st. Enrollment will be done through a new portal, http://www.healthcare.gov, which will go on-line that day.
One of the features of the health care reform law passed in March was the creation of new high-risk pools that would offer standard rates to those who have been rejected for health insurance due to a pre-existing condition. Enrollees must have been without insurance for at least 6 months and have documentation that they were denied coverage.
South Carolinians will enroll in the high-risk pool being developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and is called the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP). The PCIP is expected to be active starting this August. Our state is receiving $74 million under the new health care law to make premiums affordable. The program will end in January of 2014 when the new health insurance exchanges are open and insurance companies will not be able to deny coverage or increase rates due to pre-existing conditions.
Sole proprietors and other small business owners that meet the enrollment criteria should act immediately to take advantage of the PCIP. Demand for this program is expected to be very high and enrollment might be limited due to the budget.