More uninsured joining health coverage program

February 17, 2011

If your practice is starting to see greater numbers of patients with conditions that used to prevent them from getting insurance coverage, it may be due to the growing popularity of the Enrollment in the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), a health plan for uninsured people with pre-existing conditions.

If your practice is starting to see greater numbers of patients with conditions that used to prevent them from getting insurance coverage, it may be due to the growing popularity of the Enrollment in the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), a health plan for uninsured people with pre-existing conditions.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, PCIP has grown by more than 12,000 in the past 3 months, an increase of more than 50%.

“This program has helped thousands of people that desperately need coverage, and we are excited to see Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan enrollment is ramping up, as more people learn about the new insurance options available,” Steve Larsen, director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO), said in a press release.

This temporary program created by the Affordable Care Act covers a broad range of health benefits for people with pre-existing conditions who cannot obtain private health insurance coverage. It’s a stopgap until 2014, when all Americans will have access to coverage either through their employer or through a new competitive marketplace, and insurers will be prohibited from denying coverage to anyone based on their health status.

The department is promoting the plan through consumer groups, chronic disease organizations, healthcare providers, social workers, other federal agencies, and the insurance industry. The U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) is including information about the plan in the approximately 3.2 million social security disability insurance application receipts distributed each year.

Several large commercial insurance carriers, including Wellpoint, United Health Group, Humana, and several Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans, are including information about PCIP in their insurance denial letters.

If your patients want information about PCIP, you can refer them to the Web site, PCIP.gov. It offers information about eligibility and benefits and includes applications for the plan in each state. English and Spanish language brochures and posters about PCIP are available for downloading or printing at HealthCare.gov/center/brochures.