Americans don't like the government's Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan

Well, this is one way to reduce government spending. Put out government give aways that virtually no one wants to take advantage of. Might the pre-existing condition problem have been greatly exaggerated? I think that there is another reason that this is failing. People are going to wait until they are really sick before they get this insurance. This wasn't how the new program was supposed to work:

It's a centerpiece of President Obama's health care remake, a lifeline available right now to vulnerable people whose medical problems have made them uninsurable.

But the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan started this summer isn't living up to expectations. Enrollment lags in many parts of the country. People who could benefit may not be able to afford the premiums. Some state officials who run their own "high-risk pools" have pointed out potential problems.

"The federal risk pool has definitely provided critical access, in some cases lifesaving access, to health insurance," said Amie Goldman, chair of a national association of state high-risk insurance pools. "That said, enrollment so far is lower than we would have expected."

California, which has money for about 20,000 people, has received fewer than 450 applications, according to a state official. The program in Texas had enrolled about 200 by early September, an official in that state said. Goldman, who runs the pool in Wisconsin, said they've received fewer than 300 applications so far, with room for about 8,000 people in the program. . . .

Government economists projected as recently as April that 375,000 people would gain coverage this year, and they questioned whether $5 billion allocated to the program would be enough.

Federal officials won't provide enrollment figures, saying several large states have yet to get going. . . .

The AP points to some potential problems (not mentioning what I point out above).

A barrier may include requirements that people be uninsured for at least six months and that people provide documentation that they've been turned down by an insurer. "There are many people who don't meet the criteria for the federal pool, particularly the six months without coverage," said Goldman. . . .

So does this mean that few people are uninsured for very long? Where have we heard that argument before? The claims about the number of uninsured rarely point out that many uninsured are just temporarily uninsured and that even then they are probably still covered even if they don't know it (most people don't seem to realize that they are still covered by their previous health insurance for a month after they leave the job).

This is how the program was sold by sympathetic media:

A new nationwide insurance program designed to help people who’ve been turned down for health insurance because they have preexisting health conditions such as cancer, acne, diabetes or back pain got off the ground Thursday. Now or soon to be accepting applications: New high-risk pools in 29 states and Washington D.C., and the federal government’s Preexisting Condition Insurance Plan, which serves the remaining 21 states that chose not to offer their own programs. The coverage is a major transitional protection carved out in the health-reform law for people whose medical problems have caused them to be uninsured for at least six months. . . .

The Obama administration unveiled on Thursday a new website, www.healthcare.gov, where people who’ve been turned down for health coverage can go to find new options until the health-reform law’s major provisions take effect in 2014. . . . .

Applicants deemed eligible for the Preexisting Condition Insurance Plan may see their new coverage start as soon as Aug. 1. The program is open to U.S. citizens and legal residents who’ve been uninsured for at least six months due to a medical problem. . . . .



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