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February 2011 St@teside

New Resources Available to Increase Awareness of Pre-exiting Condition Insurance Plans

On February 10, 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it made new resources available to states, members of the media, consumer groups, providers, and others to increase awareness of the pre-existing condition insurance plans (PCIPs), the temporary high-risk pools implemented to provide comprehensive health coverage to people who have been unable to obtain coverage because of a pre-existing condition.  The PCIPs were created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and will operate until 2014, when most of the broader coverage reforms of the law take effect.

The new resources include posters, brochures, and new language that states can include in their newsletters or post on their websites to help inform consumers about the PCIP program.  HHS also made available a new website button that can be posted on a state’s website to link to, where consumers can access information about eligibility, benefits, and applications for the plan in their state.[1]

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia chose to let the federal government run their PCIPs and 27 states decided to implement and govern their own state-based PCIPs.  Although 35 states operated state high-risk pools prior to the implementation of the ACA, those that chose to run their own PCIP programs worked with the federal government to design a state PCIP that met PCIP guidelines.[2]

Initially, enrollment in PCIPs has been slow.  However, according to HHS, enrollment has increased 50 percent in the past three months to more than 12,000 individuals. Information about state-by-state enrollment in the PCIP program is available on the website.[3]

[1] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  (2011, February 10). Uninsured Americans with Pre-existing Conditions Continue to Gain Coverage through Affordable Care Act. [News Release]. Retrieved February 17, 2011 from

[2] See 2011 State of the States Chapter 4: First Hurdle: Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans.

[3] (2011, February 10). State by State Enrollment in the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, as of February 1, 2011. [Fact Sheet]. Retrieved February 17, 2011, from