The health care reform law of 2010 is well known for a number of provisions that have succumb to a seemingly endless tide of controversy. These provisions generally garner the majority of public attention, but it is one provision that has been in effect for over a year now that may point to some fundamental flaws in the federal law. The provision in question is one that originally drew in public acclaim, but has since faded into obscurity.
According to the law, each state must have a Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan in place, allowing those with chronic illnesses access to the coverage they need. The nationwide plan is backed by $5 billion in federal funding and insurance companies are free to participate by offering their own lines of coverage. Initially, state officials had high expectations for the initiative. Public interest, however, did not live up to those expectations, such is the case in Missouri.
Analysts with the Missouri Foundation for Health say that state officials have failed to enact a working version of the insurance plan. The state currently has the plan in place, but it is not providing the affordable coverage that was once promised. In fact, the rates were so high at the time of its launch early this year that state regulators lowered premiums by 25%.
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State officials had originally expected to bring in as much as 3,000 people to the plan during open enrollment periods this year. To date, only 500 have signed up for the coverage, with many opting out for the sake of their financial stability. Because of the low enrollment numbers, analysts are claiming that there may be an abundance of people in the state that are either uninsured or underinsured.
Missouri is not the only state struggling with their insurance plan, however. According to Jennifer Tolbert, director of state health policy with the Kaiser Family Foundation, “Enrollment is fairly low across all states.”