At MRMIB, high hopes for high risk pools

Yesterday, the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board met and discussed the Healthy Families program, and in particular, the potential of a new high risk pool under federal health reform.

It was reported that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is now providing guidance to states that have decided to establish and operate high risk pools (as opposed to those states who are simply letting the federal government run a pool for their residents). There is a requirement that premiums may not exceed 100 percent of the standard rate–which is different than our existing MRMIP high-risk pool, which charges considerably more. States have been instructed that if they want to set up their own plan, they must comply by July 1, which means applications need to be submitted by June 1.

The thinking is that the new high-risk pool would be separate from MRMIP, patterned after MRMIP, but different to comply with federal rules, in order to get the $761 million of federal funds allocated.

The board had several questions, commenting on how flexible the Federal Administration would be willing to be with the states. It was commented on that perhaps looking at exactly how many states were not just showing interest in the solicitation (around 30), but were going to follow through, would be helpful.

(Thanks to Beth Abbott and Nellie Price for attending and reporting.)

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

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