California will receive $118 million in federal funds to bolster its 2012 coverage of adults with pre-existing medical conditions.
The state-run, federally funded Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, or PCIP, was created last year to insure the uninsurable those who because of their medical conditions have been denied coverage by insurers or who have had to pay prohibitive insurance premiums to ensure they were covered.
The plan acts as a bridge to 2014, when the federal health care overhaul will begin barring carriers from declining or tacking higher rates onto coverage for pre-existing conditions.
With the new funding, the federal contribution to the state program rose to $347 million.
Officials at the state's Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board, which operates PCIP, said the cash infusion was needed both to expand the program and to keep pace with the cost of subscriber claims.
Enrollment in the California plan among the nation's largest stood at 5,972 members as of the end of November, said board spokeswoman Sarah Smith.
Monthly per-member costs have grown to more than three times the initial projections. Without the additional money, enrollment in the program would have been capped at 6,800 through the end of 2013.
"If enrollment had continued at the same pace," Smith said, "we would have maxed out in a few short months."
The Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board will also roll over remaining 2011 PCIP funds to boost funding for Californians with high-risk conditions, board officials said.
With the added cash, "we will not need to limit or stop enrolling Californians with pre-existing conditions into this important program," said Janette Casilas, the board's executive director.
California's Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan began in October 2010. Similar plans are now in place across the country.
The coverage for pre-existing conditions was one of the first major provisions to go into effect across the country after the March 2010 signing of the Affordable Care Act. The plan covers primary, specialty and hospital care as well as prescription drugs and other benefits.
© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.
Read more articles by Darrell Smith
What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com
Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)
Here are some rules of the road:
Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "Report Abuse" link to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.
Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.
Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.
Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand.
Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.
Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.
Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.
Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.
Don't flag other users' comments just because you don't agree with their point of view. Please only flag comments that violate these guidelines.
You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "Report Abuse" link to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.
If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them.