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By Fatima Najiy:
The Affordable Care Act’s Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) is credited with providing comprehensive health coverage to nearly 50,000 Americans with high-risk pre-existing conditions, according to a report released today by the Department of Health and Human Services. The PCIP is a temporary program intended to make health coverage available and more affordable for individuals who are uninsured — and were likely denied coverage based on their pre-existing conditions — and are ineligible to receive Medicare and Medicaid. Once the health reform law is fully implemented, in 2014, insurers will be prohibited from refusing coverage to any American with a pre-existing condition.
Since its launch in November 2010, there has been an approximate 400 percent increase in PCIP enrollment — specifically amongst older uninsured Americans, who’s serious pre-existing conditions require more intensive and ongoing medical care — with the PCIP program attracting 8,000 new applications every month from August through November 2011.
According to findings published in health policy journal Health Affairs, few small businesses are likely to take advantage of two options allowing them to avoid new regulations under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Researchers believe that most small employers will likely eschew the two rules because opting to self-insure or maintain grandfathered insurance plans would leave them open to substantial financial risk should the medical expenses of their employees surge unexpectedly. Furthermore, researchers predict that the majority of small businesses won’t be able to grandfather existing health plans after 2014, as they will fail to meet the necessary requirements.