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Congress Passes Legislation for State High-Risk Pools

Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate passed legislation to help fund new and existing high-risk health insurance pools at the state level. These programs are instrumental in providing health coverage for people who are unable to obtain health insurance due to chronic illness or a pre-existing condition. President Bush has signaled his support of the legislation and is expected to sign the bill.

The legislation will provide $15 million in seed grants for states without a high-risk pool. The money will be available in a one-time endowment of $1 million for the creation of such pools. Currently, 33 states offer high-risk pool insurance. Check if your state offers high-risk pool insurance

This money may provide an opportunity for coverage to hemophilia patients who have been denied a policy in the individual market, or who can only obtain coverage at high rates due to their pre-existing condition.

The bill will also provide $75 million in grants each year from 2006-2010 for states to offset operational losses in existing high-risk pools. The grants will provide one-third of the funds to eligible states equally, one-third based on the number of uninsured individuals in a state relative to all states, and one-third based on the number of enrollees in a state’s qualified risk pool relative to all states.


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