Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

The Journal Record Money Movers: July 2, 2010

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

The Journal Record Money Movers: July 2, 2010

Article excerpt

Pre-existing condition insurance plan OK'd

OKLAHOMA CITY - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has establishment a new Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan offering coverage to uninsured Americans who have been unable to obtain health coverage because of a pre-existing health condition.

The state of Oklahoma will run its program using $60 million in federal funding made available under the Affordable Care Act. The Oklahoma Health Insurance High Risk Pool, which provided coverage to about 2,098 individuals in 2009, will be the program administrator.

Created under the Affordable Care Act, the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan is a transitional program until 2014, when insurers will be banned from discriminating against adults with pre-existing conditions, and individuals and small businesses will have access to more affordable private insurance choices through new competitive exchanges.

"For too long, Oklahoma residents with pre-existing conditions have been locked out of our health insurance market," said Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Health and Human Services secretary. "Today, the Pre- Existing Condition Insurance Plan gives them a new option - the same insurance coverage as a healthy individual if they've been uninsured for at least six months because of a medical condition."

The Affordable Care Act provides $5 billion in federal funding to support Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans in every state. Twenty-one states have requested that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services run their Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan.

The other 29 states, including Oklahoma, and Washington, D.C., will operate the program themselves.

"Health coverage for Oklahoma residents with pre-existing conditions has historically been unobtainable or failed to cover the very conditions for which they need medical care," said Jay Angoff, director of the Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, which is overseeing the program. …

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