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California helps many who can't get insured due to pre-existing health conditions

 By Viji Sundaram, New America Media

In the one year Gabe Chavez was without health insurance after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, life “was horrible,” he said.

“Nobody should be without insurance,” said Chavez, 39. “It’s too dangerous.”

Chavez’s doctors did the best they could to help him cope with the disease, but blood work and other important procedures fell by the wayside.

A resident of Alameda and father of two, Chavez lost his coverage three years ago when his old sales job at a spare parts store ended with the sale of the store, where he had received full health benefits through a company-sponsored group plan. Chavez’s new employer could only contribute $200 each month toward his health insurance. Because his diabetes marked him as “high risk,” the cheapest insurer he could find quoted a monthly premium of $1,000 – far more than he could afford. So he ended up joining the ranks of California’s nearly 7 million uninsured.

In August last year, though, Chavez got a break when California rolled out its Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan. Chavez lost no time enrolling in the program.

This program is a part of President Obama's healthcare plan that guarantees access to insurance for U.S. citizens with preexisting conditions, who have been uninsured for at least six months.

Knowing that the major changes under the Affordable Care Act wouldn’t kick in until 2014, Congress made sure to include provisions that would take effect quickly, as a bridge to 2014.

Pre-Existing Condition Insurance program is among those early deliverables. It is an interim measure Congress passed intended to protect at least some patients from being denied coverage up to Jan. 1, 2014, when a broader federal provision of the Affordable Care Act will begin prohibiting all insurance companies from discriminating against people with preexisting conditions.


Read the complete story at New America Media.


PCIP is broken

The bridge that is the PCIP is broken and way over budget. If the federal government cannot afford PCIP, how can private insurers abide by guaranteed issue without going under?