Few People Signing up for New Preexisting Condition Coverage

Although almost 6 million people are thought to be eligible for state-run preexisting condition insurance plans set up under the healthcare reform law, HHS said only 8,011 people were signed up as of Nov. 1, according to a report by the American Medical News.

People who have been denied coverage by private insurers because of preexisting conditions and who have been without insurance for at least six months are eligible for the plans, offered in each state either by the state or the federal government.

Pennsylvania, which manages its own program, had the highest enrollment, with 1,657 people, but the District of Columbia had no enrollees and the federally administered program in North Dakota had one enrollee.

One problem is that most people don't know about the option. Pennsylvania, an exception, sent letters about the plan to people on the waiting list for another state-run program. The cost is another problem. Premiums reflect standard individual market rates in each state, but Pennsylvania and New York set premiums below standard rates.

HHS is making changes to try to boost enrollment in states where it runs the program, such as reducing 2011 premiums by almost 20 percent and offering two new plan options.

Read the American Medical News report on enrollment in preexisting condition insurance plans.

Read more coverage on insurance for people with preexisting conditions.

- Citing Preexisting Conditions, Large Health Insurers Denied Coverage to 651,000 Applicants in Individual Market

- Risk Pools, GOP's Alternative to Individual Mandate, Getting Few Takers So Far

- 19 States Refuse to Create High-Risk Pools Despite $5B in Federal Funding

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