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PCIP Premiums to be Lowered, Coverage Increased

Last Friday, the Obama administration said it will cut premiums and upgrade coverage in the new federal health plan for people with pre-existing conditions because enrollment has been lower than expected.

An estimated 375,000 had been expected to sign up for the federal Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan (PCIP) this year, but as of last week, a little more than 8,000 had enrolled. Part of the problem is likely high premiums; while cost sharing varies by state, it can range from $400 to $900 per month or more depending on one’s age and location.

Big Premium Cut for those in Federal PCIP

Health and Human Services officials say the program will cut premiums by about 20 percent next year, as well as offer a choice among different plans, including one tailored for children only. Prescription drug coverage will also get better.

Not Sure Yet About California

These new, lower premiums will apply to the 23 states (and Washington, D.C.) that decided not to create their own pools, but instead allow the federal government to administer the program for the high risk individuals in their state. Other states which opted to run their own PCIP – like California – will have to make their own, individual decisions about lowering rated and increasing benefits.

It’s unclear yet which way MRMIB, the administrative agency that runs our PCIP program, will go. Stay tuned…