Governor Rendell: Uninsured Pennsylvanians With Pre-existing Conditions Will Benefit From Health Care Reform

More than 3,000 People Have Applied for PA Fair Care; Coverage to Begin Oct. 1

SCRANTON, Pa., Sept. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Edward G. Rendell and White House Office of Health Reform Director Nancy-Ann DeParle joined Allied Services medical clinic in Scranton today to highlight how the federal Affordable Care Act provides uninsured adults with pre-existing conditions the opportunity to get health insurance.

"Many adults with certain medical conditions are denied health insurance in the individual market or offered coverage at an unaffordable price – at a time when they need it most," Governor Rendell said. "This is an absurd practice – almost like only being allowed to go to a restaurant when you are not hungry.

"Thanks to federal health care reform, health insurers will be prohibited from denying coverage or charging sick people more for insurance in 2014. In the meantime, we are doing everything we can for Pennsylvanians to have access to affordable, quality health care, including offering coverage through a high risk pool."

Pennsylvania's high-risk pool is called PA Fair Care. It is a public-private health care partnership that responsibly uses federal money to provide health care to those who have been without coverage for a period of six months and have a pre-existing medical condition.    

Catherine Detweiler, 45, of Greentown, Pike County, appeared with Governor Rendell today at Allied Services. She said that when her physical therapist told her of the new program, she immediately went online to apply. After years of trying to coordinate costly medical treatments and medications for a serious injury, she finally sees a light at the end of the tunnel with PA Fair Care.

The program is administered statewide through a contract with Highmark Blue Shield. It offers a broad range of benefits, including preventive care, physician services, diagnostic testing, hospitalization, mental health services and prescription medications. Subsidized premiums are $283.20 a month, plus additional co-pays and coinsurance.

While other states have reported their high-risk plan applications are trickling in, Pennsylvania's response to PA Fair Care has been brisk. Applications are available online and about 3,000 individuals have applied so far. There is room for 3,500 in the first roll-out of the program. Some of the 3,000 current applicants may be deemed ineligible, so consumers are still encouraged to apply – it only takes 15 minutes to complete the application online. Eligible applicants will be enrolled on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information on PA Fair Care visit

Media contacts:

Rosanne Placey or Melissa Fox, Insurance; 717-787-3289

Gary Tuma, Governor's Office; 717-783-1116

SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor