Farewell to MS.MIB, and other high-risk updates…

The monthly meeting of the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board was today, and our colleague Nellie Price went and has a quick report:

Of major note was the progress of the new federally-funded “high-risk” pool, the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Program (PCIP). The program has started to distribute and accept applications, but it hasn’t started providing coverage–yet. They had expected to start earlier this month, and there will be an announcement soon.

Even with minimal outreach–and before the program has actually started, there have been 5,900 hits on the PCIP website. In all, 6,300 applications were sent out, and of those, 12% were returned.

They called 1,000 people who got applications but have yet to return them, and found:
* 55% said they planned on returning their applications, but were waiting on final eligibility status decisions from their insurance companies;
* 22% had not been uninsured for 6 months (a requirement of being eligible for PCIP)
* 12% were waiting for their first months premiums;
* 5% did not plan on retuning their applications because PCIP was too expensive or they did not meet the requirements;
* And the remaining 6% turned out to be brokers just interested in obtaining information.

Also, 514 applications have been processed as of 10/1/10. About 8% of the applications have been referred to MRMIP, the existing state-based high-risk pool (perhaps because it does not require that people are uninsured for six months.)

When the program starts, it was reported that it will take 2 business days to complete all applications once PCIP is up and running, though no date was given when this will be. There have been a few complaints, as the deposit with the applications have been taken and cashed by the state upon receipt (as per state regulations) even though the constituents have not seen any enrollment to date.

MRMIB reported on future outreach efforts in the forms of a Facebook page, Twitter account, newsletters and fliers online. There will also be a $50 reimbursement for successful application completion.

The state’s existing high-risk pool, the Major Risk Medical Insurance Program (MRMIP), also got a status report. As of 10/1/10, there are 7,145 enrollees in the MRMIP program, and there was a wait list of 41. There was a disenrollment survey taken in which they found January 2010 had the highest rate of disenrollment with 82. Anthem Blue Cross had the highest rate of subscriber premiums for the year at more than 11%, Kaiser Permanente had the lowest at 7%. The class average was 10.7%

Two organizational announcements. One was that this was the first meeting with new MRMIB board member Sam Garrison, who works in his day job at the L.A. Chamber of Commerce.

Finally, of special note was the announcement that Lesley Cummings is leaving her post as Executive Director of MRMIB, and the board has started recruitment for a new ED. She stated her thanks to the board and to the MRMIB staff, and her pride in the growth of Healthy Families and start-up of PCIP as part of federal health reform. There will be a subcommittee for recruitment and hiring led by MRMIB board members Richard Figueroa and Cliff Allenby. The handouts included a position description and announcement for distribution.

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.

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