Subsidized health plans for the high-risk uninsured so far have drawn a small fraction of the nearly 200,000 enrollees ultimately expected, Kaiser Health News reports. The program, part of the federal health reform law, began in 30 states in early July as a bridge until 2014 when the law's ban on insurers' discriminating based on health status goes into effect. So far about 3,600 people have applied and about 1,200 have been approved, KHN reports.
The program's slow start highlights how important marketing and communications will be in achieving many of the goals of the reform law. It also points to the likelihood that aspects of the law will require revisions to meet their ends once the market response is known.
Officials told KHN it is too early to gauge the program's impact. The plans won't be up and running in all states until September, and so far marketing has been limited. But it's possible that demand will be lower than expected.
The premiums, although subsidized, might still be too costly for many and the eligibility requirements could be intimidating. Applicants must provide proof of a pre-existing condition (although in many states a doctor's note is enough) and that they've been denied coverage by a private insurer in the past six months, KHN said.
- read the Kaiser Health News article