Archive for June 6th, 2010

Assurant Health: High Risk Insurance Pools

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

Eighteen states will let the government run their high-risk health insurance pools, according to The Washington Post’s “18 states refuse to run insurance pools for those with preexisting conditions” by David Hilzenrath.  Beginning in 2014, health insurers like Assurant Health will not be able to deny health insurance coverage or charge increased premiums to people with preexisting medical conditions.  A provision in the health-care bill has extended this coverage temporarily beginning this year.  High-risk health insurance pools will run coverage programs for these high risk people almost immediately.  Some states already have high-risk pools, but for those who don’t and those whose current programs don’t meet the new federal requirements, a decision had to be made whether to run the pools themselves or let the government do it.

Five billion dollars has been allocated to run these high-risk pools, but many governors don’t think the money they will be given is going to last very long.  Because of this and other reasons, at least eighteen states are leaving it up to the Department of Health and Human Services to run the high-risk pools.  Many of these states have Republican governors, though not all do.  It’s possible that the federal government will hire a nonprofit health insurance company to run the high-risk pools for those states not running their own.  High-risk pools are expensive to run and many people, like the actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, think the federal government’s $5 billion could be spent by next year.  If that happens, state and federal governments could have to increase premiums, decrease benefits, or limit enrollment.  Maybe the government will come up with more money for these pools…it remains to be seen.