Home » News
Home » News

Federal option for uninsurable Utahns closing early

Published February 25, 2013 11:52 am

Health reform • Amid fears funding won't last, high-risk pool stops eight months early.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The federal government is halting enrollment in its high-risk pools, subsidized health coverage for people rejected by private insurers because they're too sick.

The program was meant as a stop-gap for the uninsurable, to last until Jan. 1, 2014, when insurers will be prohibited from turning down people with pre-existing health conditions.

But funding for the $5 billion program is running out, explained Tomi Ossana, who helps administer the program for Utah.

Capping the program now is a means to ensure there's enough money to pay the medical bills of those already enrolled — including 1,400 Utahns, she explained.

In Utah the risk pool — Federal-HIPUtah — will stop accepting applications on Saturday at 11:59 p.m.

But the state's own risk pool, HIPUtah, will remain open indefinitely. The program operates under different eligibility rules and coverage isn't as heavily subsidized, but it's larger, serving 3,400 men, women and children.

Both pools require hefty monthly premiums from clients.

Officials expect to transition the HIPUtah individuals into health insurance exchange markets in October, assuming the markets are open for business by then, said Ossana. "But there are a lot of unknowns … so we're just kind of keeping our options open."

To keep some HIPUtah clients covered through the transition, an omnibus health reform bill, sponsored by Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, proposes raising HIPUtah's lifetime benefits ceiling for individuals to $1.8 million from $1.5 million.

kstewart@sltrib.com —

Coverage for the uninsurable

O Find out if you are eligible for government-subsidized coverage for the uninsurable. > bit.ly/ljPiIO




Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
comments powered by Disqus