PCIP High Risk Pool Waiting Period Needs to be Shortened or Eliminated, Says Advocacy Group Communicating for America

WASHINGTON, July 26, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Based on a July 2011 survey of uninsured Americans, national advocacy group Communicating for America (CA) recommends that the waiting period for the new PCIP high risk pools be shortened or eliminated in order to increase enrollment in the programs.

"Based on the results of our survey and more than 35 years of experience CA has with high risk pools, we believe HHS and Congress need to reduce the waiting period from six months to three months, or eliminate the waiting period altogether and move instead to an annual open enrollment period to reduce adverse selection," said CA President Wayne Nelson.

The survey was intended to determine the reasons for low enrollment in the new Pre-existing Conditions Insurance Plans (PCIP) and what actions could be taken to increase awareness and enrollment in the programs.  "These programs are highly underutilized," Nelson explained. "CA is committed to seeing changes implemented that reduce barriers and allow these crucial programs to be accessed by those most in need of health insurance."

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that as many as 4 million uninsured Americans would be eligible for the PCIP programs. According to information released by HHS in July, less than 25,000 individuals were enrolled. Nelson said that CA has presented the results and recommendations to Congressional offices and HHS officials in Washington.

Following are other major findings of the survey:

  • 86% believe they need health insurance
  • 69% believe that having a licensed agent assist them is important
  • 90% feel that a six-month waiting period for those without insurance is too long
  • 76% list the high premium cost as the main factor in not having insurance

"Additionally, HHS should experiment with other ways to encourage enrollment:  reduce language barriers, utilize the power of associations to reach their members, implement advertising campaigns focused on workforce centers and job search websites to target those most likely to be without insurance, and allow the plans to offer enrollees plans with less comprehensive benefits which would be less costly," said Nelson.

Communicating for America is a national, nonpartisan, non-profit organization based in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, dedicated to strengthening self-employed individuals and small businesses. For more information on CA, visit www.communicatingforAmerica.org.

For More Information
Wayne Nelson, President
(612) 819-4629

SOURCE Communicating for America