Over here at MyHealthCafe.com, we are big fans of the Pre-Existing Condition Health Insurance Plans (PCIPs), high-risk health insurance pools for Americans with pre-existing conditions. The PCIPs were one of the most-hyped elements of President Obama’s healthcare reform and promised the possibility of health insurance for Americans with pre-existing conditions who previously had not been able to get affordable health insurance in the market, if they’d been able to get any health insurance at all. Currently, Americans with pre-existing conditions are often denied health insurance coverage or are only offered health insurance which is prohibitively expensive.
But even though the PCIPs are designed to provide affordable health insurance benefits to those with pre-existing conditions, cheap they’re not. It may all be relative, but the PCIPs only provide relativelyaffordable health insurance, which considering that many folks with pre-existing conditions couldn’t get anyhealth insurance before, isn’t saying much. Health insurance premiums are still likely to run between at least $200 and $500 a month, and in Connecticut, PCIP health insurance premiums can run as high as $890 a month. PCIPs may be providing relatively affordable health insurance, but cheap they’re not.
But if you don’t have health insurance and haven’t joined your state’s PCIP because you’re worried about paying the health insurance premiums, we strongly suggest that you look into whether your state allows third parties, namely government programs or non-profits to pay your PCIP health insurance premiums. Although not all states allow third parties to pay PCIP health insurance premiums, most states do and it can be a huge relief to many who otherwise couldn’t afford the premiums:
In New Mexico, about 11 percent of the 950 people enrolled in the PCIP get their premiums covered by such third parties as the American Kidney Fund, the University of New Mexico and the New Mexico Department of Health, says Deborah Armstrong, executive director for the New Mexico Medical Insurance Pool.
A year ago, Eli Valdez, 36, had full-blown AIDs. Uninsured and earning just $1,000 a month as a cashier at a pizza parlor, he had racked up more than $35,000 in medical bills. The $1,600 he needed monthly for prescriptions was covered by the state, but because he couldn’t afford physician visits or blood work, the Albuquerque resident wasn’t monitoring the medications as he should have.
Now he has comprehensive insurance through the New Mexico PCIP, for which the nonprofit New Mexico AIDS Services pays the premium.
“Now I have more access to health care, and I get seen more often,” says Valdez. “I’m a lot healthier.” His viral load is now undetectable.
Are you planning on applying to a PCIP ? Tell us about it!
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- Healthcare Reform: Missouri Cuts Health Insurance Premiums for Pre-Existing Condition Pool (PCIP)