Feds freeze enrollments in interim high risk pool
(Reuters) – The Obama administration on Friday said it would stop enrolling new beneficiaries in a special $5 billion insurance program for people with pre-existing medical conditions, because of rising costs and limited funding.
The news comes a day after a top U.S. healthcare official told lawmakers on Capitol Hill that the administration is grappling with financial difficulties but determined to keep the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) operating in 23 states and the District of Columbia through 2013.
The PCIP goes into run off mode as federal officials freeze new enrollments hoping to keep it solvent through the rest of the year until medical underwriting in the individual market ends January 1, 2014. In 2010, this blog noted the challenge of maintaining solvency of the PCIP, citing a paper by the National Institute for Health Care Reform. Notably, the Institute predicted the $5 billion the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act allocated for the PCIP might only cover 200,000 people a year — just half of the number currently enrolled according to the Reuters item.