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Health Coverage for the High-Risk Uninsured: Policy Options for Design of the Temporary High-Risk Pool

NIHCR Policy Analysis No. 2
May 2010
Mark Merlis

Among the first tasks required by the recently enacted health reform law is creation of a temporary national high-risk pool program to provide subsidized health coverage to people who are uninsured because of pre-existing medical conditions. While as many as 5.6-million to 7-million Americans may qualify for the program, the $5 billion allocated over four years will allow coverage of only a small fraction of those in need, potentially as few as 200,000 people a year. Policy makers will need to tailor eligibility rules, benefits and premiums to stretch the dollars as far as possible. Another consideration is how the new pool will fit with existing state high-risk pools or other state interventions in the private nongroup, or individual, health insurance market. Policy makers also will need to consider how to manage the transition of enrollees from high-risk pools to the new health insurance exchanges scheduled to be operational in 2014 to prevent adverse selection and encourage insurer participation.

This article is available at the National Institute for Health Care Reform Web site.





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The Center for Studying Health System Change Ceased operation on Dec. 31, 2013.