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The ACA and California’s Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan

Today’s guest blog was written by Sarah Smith, Information Officer for the Managed Risk Insurance Board (MRMIB). MRMIB is dedicated to improving the health of California by increasing access to affordable, comprehensive and quality health care coverage. The Board operates the Healthy Families Program, Access for Infants and Mothers, the Major Risk Medical Insurance Program, and the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan.

Since opening on October 25, 2010, California’s Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan has achieved a number of successes. The state’s PCIP has lowered premiums, provided much needed care to thousands of uninsured Californians and increased enrollment.

In 2011, the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board was able to lower premiums for the plan for most age groups, leading to a premium reduction of 18 percent on average. In an interview with the LA Times, a PCIP subscriber said, “I’m 54 and this is the first time I’ve ever had a medical insurance rate go down…It’s unbelievable.”

By evaluating the types of benefits PCIP subscribers are using, MRMIB has learned that the plan is serving its intended purpose to insure those who need medical care the most. Many PCIP subscribers previously had not had access to medical care because they were unable to obtain health coverage. In addition to preventive care, PCIP subscribers are using the plan to obtain treatment for life-threatening and chronic conditions like cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

On December 31, 2011, the federal government confirmed that California’s PCIP has more enrollees than any other state, with 5,599 subscribers. This enrollment figure has grown since then and as of March 13, 2012, there are 8,397 PCIP subscribers in California.

MRMIB continues its marketing and outreach efforts to ensure that more Californians are aware of PCIP as a coverage option. Watch for PCIP messages at events in your communities, on the Internet and in your local media. Help spread the word about California’s PCIP: Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! For more information about PCIP, please go to www.pcip.ca.gov.

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