||June 30, 2010
Dave Lemmon, Director of Communications
Bob Meissner, Deputy Director of Communications
Bryan Fisher, Press Secretary
Starting July 1, South Carolinians with Pre-Existing Conditions Will Have Access to Quality, Affordable Health Coverage
Applications Available on New Consumer Website Featuring Full Range of Insurance Options for South Carolinians
Washington, D.C.—An important reform of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act takes effect on July 1, when South Carolinians who have been without health coverage for at least six months and who have been denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions will be given access to affordable, quality coverage. They will receive it through a new Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan created by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Families USA issued a report in May on the number of people in South Carolina with pre-existing conditions. This report is available on the Families USA Web site, www.familiesusa.org, and can be found with the search terms “South Carolina & pre-existing conditions.” The report reveals that approximately 879,000 South Carolinians have a diagnosed pre-existing condition that could lead to a denial of coverage in the individual health insurance market.
To find the new coverage available in South Carolina, as well as information about the complete range of health coverage options available for consumers by ZIP code through a website set up by HHS, see http://healthcare.gov.
The new website is the first to provide consumers and small businesses with information about private insurance, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Medicare, and other coverage options in one place. Federal officials are emphasizing that the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan is not the long-term solution to the insurance industry’s practice of denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Instead, it will serve as a bridge to 2014, when the reform law bans denials of coverage based on pre-existing conditions.
The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan is a separate program from existing “high-risk” pools that are offered in a number of states. Unlike existing high-risk pools, premiums in the new program will be similar to premiums charged to healthy people in South Carolina.
Ron Pollack, Executive Director of the consumer health organization Families USA, complimented HHS for this development. “The timely implementation of the new insurance pool, along with the new website, will be enormously helpful to people who need health care the most. It will also boost confidence that health reform will be implemented effectively in the months and years ahead.”
Families USA is the national organization for health care consumers. It is nonprofit and nonpartisan and advocates for high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans.
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