Earlier this year, the federal government expanded the eligibility of a federal health insurance program to include those with preexisting conditions. The initiative was originally slated to take effect in 2014, along with the rest of the Affordable Care Act, but the Department of Health and Human Services enacted the new rules in an effort to ensure more people were receiving health insurance. The program, however, has been fraught with low enrollment, spurring the HHS to lower premiums by an average of 18% throughout the nation. The HHS hopes that the move will draw in more customers.
The Pre-existing Condition Health Insurance Program was designed to help those who were unable to obtain coverage from insurance companies find affordable coverage. The federal government considers the program a bridge between the current health care regulations and those that will be enacted in 2014. Through the program, many would have an easier time adapting to the coming changes without having to worry about losing their insurance coverage or having to pay more for the coverage they have now.
The program was met with initial favor from the public when it was first introduced in May of this year. Since then, however, the program has struggled to attract new enrollees. This may be due to the overall lack of knowledge the public has about the program, keeping them from enrolling and taking advantage of its benefits. Another problem may lay in the public’s perception of the program. According to David Sayen, regional administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, many view the insurance program as a health care initiative for the elderly.
The government is planning an outreach project to raise awareness of the insurance program in the coming months.