What if During Open Season Nobody Enrolled?

The new federal high-risk insurance plan is turning out to be a dud:

The program in Texas had enrolled about 200 by early September, an official said. California, which has money for about 20,000 people, has received fewer than 450 applications, according to a state official. In Wisconsin, Goldman said they’ve received fewer than 300 applications so far, with room for about 8,000 people in the program.

That’s not how it was supposed to work.

Comments (11)

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  1. Larry C. says:

    This is really interesting. There are very few takers? Then what was the fuss all about?

  2. Tom H. says:

    What happened to all those personal experiences the White House was collecting last year? You know, all the people who were denied coverage because of preexisting conditions? Now that they have an opportunity to sign up, have they just vanished into this air?

  3. Devon Herrick says:

    I agree with Tom. Public health advocates have long complained that insurance is unaffordable for people with medical conditions. The uninsured often complain about how insurance in unaffordable — especially if they need care. Yet, after this program was rolled out, state officials are having a hard time finding takers. The only conclusion that can be drawn is the ACA created high risk pools that few people want or need.

  4. Bruce says:

    Truly amazing.

  5. Paul H. says:

    I’ve always thought this was an overblown problem. We have made it extremely easy in this country for people with health problems to get health insurance. So why should we be surprised to learn that most of them have already done so.

  6. Virginia says:

    Of those 200-450 people that signed up, how many do you think are moderately sick? How many do you think are REALLY REALLY sick?

    No one wants to join a high risk pool unless there’s no other option. I bet that these 200 people will drain the state’s funds in a matter of months due to high-cost medical problems.

  7. Bart Ingles says:

    What are the restrictions to be able to join the pool? Doesn’t it require that the applicant be uninsured for six months prior?

  8. Mary says:

    According to a Georgetown University professor Sabrina Corlette, the premiums are prohibitive in many states – $400 to $500/month. In states that have lower premiums, such as Pennsylvania where the premiums are $283/month, enrollment is progressing rapidly. Another barrier is the requirement that the person must have been uninsured for 6 months and have documentation. Many people cannot meet this requirement.

  9. Linda Gorman says:

    The Georgetown professor claim that people must have documentation to show that they have been uninsured is pretty strange. Where does one get that documentation?

  10. Mary says:

    Even though the enrollment is behind what was forecast, certainly the individuals who have enrolled must find this option beneficial. Quantity does not equal to quality. As for the problems with premiums and requirements, perhaps the lesson learned is that we need to make these programs’ requirements less prohibitive – instead of just not making them available. I am sure if we could ask the people who have already enrolled, they would not call their lifeline a “dud”. I would like to know why some of the prohibitions were placed on this program – not to say that the thinking was not well-intentioned – but to understand the reasoning behind it.

  11. Paul H. says:

    Everybody can afford these premiums if they are really sick and have expected health care costs way in excess of the premiums. Think of health insurance as an investment that pays off in terms of lower out of pocket costs.

    Of course a person could be so poor that he cannot pay the premiums from his cash income. In that case, doctors and hospitals should be willing to pay the premiums because they will get a positve cash flow on what otherwise would have been uncompensated care.