MRMIB Communicating With HHS About Federal High-Risk Insurance Pool
California's Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board has begun corresponding with HHS to inquire aboutÂ aÂ high-risk health insurance pool mandated in the national health reform law, Payers & Providers reports.
The pool would provide coverage to people with pre-existing conditions until the national health insurance exchanges begin operating in 2014.
Since the mid-1990s, MRMIB has operated a high-risk pool in California called the Major Risk Medical Insurance Program. However, funding pressures have kept the program capped at 7,100 members.
Jeanie Esajian, MRMIB's deputy director for legislative and external affairs, estimated that as many as 300,000 California residents could qualify forÂ a federalÂ high-risk pool.
Esajian said MRMIB is capable of runningÂ a new high-risk pool, but she warned thatÂ the boardÂ could face operational challenges. MRMIB currently employes fewer than 100 people.
HHS has yet to set regulations on howÂ aÂ federal high-risk pool wouldÂ operate. The agency also has not commented on whether MRMIB would have the necessary expertise to run a pool in California (Payers & Providers, 4/1).
On Wednesday, KQED's "The California Report" reported on the new federally mandated high-risk pools (Varney, "The California Report," KQED, 3/31).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.