New state plan covers those with pre-existing conditions

The Bellingham Business Journal

Washington residents who have been uninsured for at least six months and have a pre-existing medical condition can now apply for coverage under the new, federally funded Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan.

“If you’ve been without health insurance for at least six months, and have a serious medical condition or just received a diagnosis, this could be the plan for you,” Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said in a press release. “Unlike the state’s high risk pool, coverage for pre-existing conditions under the new Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan begins immediately.”

Coverage for those who apply by Aug. 15 would begin Sept. 1, 2010.

“The new plan is designed to be a stop-gap measure to help those most in need of coverage until 2014, when full health reform takes effect and people cannot be denied insurance because of a pre-existing medical condition,” Kreidler said.

The new Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan is being run by the state’s current high risk pool, the Washington State Health Insurance Pool, and is funded by a $102 million grant from the federal government until 2014.

Washington joins 29 other states using federal funds to run their own programs.

“There are many benefits to running the new plan ourselves,” Kreidler said. “By maintaining local control, we can modify the proposal to meet the needs of Washington residents.”

To qualify for the new plan, you must be a Washington state resident and be a citizen, national or legal resident of the United States.

The benefits under the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan vary depending on which deductible applicants select. Rates for the $2,500 deductible plan range from $161 to $769 per month, depending on applicant’s age and whether or not they smoke. Rates under the $500 deductible plan are $324 to $1,577 per month, also depending on applicant’s age and whether or not they smoke.

Applications for the new plan are available at www.wship.org/PCIP-WA or by calling (877) 505-0514.

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