KCUR News
10:58 am
Thu July 15, 2010

New High Risk Insurance Pool Opens Today In Missouri

Kansas City, MO – The U.S Department of Health and Human Services gave final approval yesterday to Missouri's new high risk insurance pool. The decision means a new coverage option is now available for Missourians with pre-existing conditions.

The Missouri Department of Insurance says it will start taking applications today for the pool. Travis Ford is with the department and says eligibility requirements are pretty simple.

"You have to be a Missouri resident, you have to have a pre-existing condition, and you have to be without health insurance for at least six months," says Ford.

Ford says the state already runs a high risk pool for people who are either flat-out denied private health coverage or are offered it at an extremely high rate. Even so, he says the state option is often too expensive. He says the new pool will be a lot cheaper because the federal government's subsidizing it.

The new pool is part of the federal health law that took effect earlier this year. The coverage is meant to be temporary and is scheduled to phase out in 2014. That's when new regulations kick in prohibiting insurance companies from denying people coverage due to pre-existing health conditions.

The Missouri Health Insurance Pool is the specific agency overseeing the new pool and will be accepting applications on a 'first come, first serve' basis until the end of the year. Ford says if people want more information they can call 1-800-821-2231 or go to www.mhip.org.

Kansas is also preparing to launch a similar program but is still working out the final details of its contract.

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