Pennsylvania has highest enrollment in high-risk insurance pools

    High-risk insurance pools have been established across the country in the last few months as part of the new healthcare legislation.

    By Carolyn Beeler

    High-risk insurance pools have been established across the country in the last few months as part of the new healthcare legislation. They’re designed to offer insurance for people with pre-existing conditions like cancer, diabetes or heart disease, conditions that made them previously uninsurable.

    New numbers from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services show that enrollment in high-risk pools in most states is lower than expected. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says it is lowering premiums in many places to attract new members. But enrollment in Pennsylvania is right on track – in fact, it’s the highest in the country. Melissa Fox, with the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, says the pace is about what they were expecting.

    Fox: Quite honestly we didn’t know we didn’t what to expect, because there is a pent up demand for insurance, but so far the numbers of the applications and those enrolled has been steady.

    About 1,600 people are enrolled in Pennsylvania’s high risk pool. That makes up about a fifth of the enrollment nationwide. Fox says the state’s online application process and a reasonable monthly premium of $283 have led to the large enrollment.

    Fox: Pennsylvania made the decision to instead of charge a premium that would be age or condition specific, it is actually a flat fee, so you are not penalized for your age or for your certain condition.

    But there is still federal funding available for about two thousand more hard-to insure people to gain coverage in Pennsylvania. Fox says the program, PA Fair Care, is still accepting applications.

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