The Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP-WA), a temporary health insurance plan for people with pre-existing health conditions, will close to new enrollees after March 2, 2013, the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner announced Tuesday.
Anyone who needs this coverage is encouraged to apply as soon as possible. All applications must be postmarked by March 2. Washington state is not unique. The federal government has ordered similar suspensions nationwide to ensure adequate funding.
Currently, 1,013 people are enrolled in Washington state’s plan. The suspension will help ensure that there’s enough money to take care of enrollees through the end of 2013, when the Affordable Care Act takes effect and no one can be denied health insurance because of a pre-existing health condition.
This program insures people with serious, costly medical conditions. The most common conditions of enrollees include AIDS, cancer, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, and pregnancy. The average cost per member per month is $5,154.
“The Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan was designed to be a stop-gap measure to help those most in need of coverage until 2014,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler.
“If you’ve been without health insurance for at least six months, and have a serious medical condition or just received a diagnosis, don’t wait to enroll,” said Kreidler. “If you wait, you could be without viable coverage until Jan. 1, 2014.”
The only exception to the enrollment suspension is if someone was enrolled in a PCIP in another state during the last six months and changes their residence. They can re-enroll in their new state after March 2.
To qualify for the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan, you must be a Washington state resident and:
- Be a citizen or national of the United States or a legal resident of the United States
- Have been uninsured for at least six months before applying and
- Have a pre-existing condition
The benefits under the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan vary depending on which deductible you select, $2,500 or $500:
- Rates for the $2,500 deductible plan range from $212-$848 per month depending on your age and whether or not you smoke.
- Rates under the $500 deductible plan are $420-$1,680 per month, also depending on your age and whether or not you smoke.
Applications for the new plan are available at https://www.wship.org/PCIP-WA or by calling toll-free 1-877-505-0514.