Assembly OKs High Risk-Pool to Protect ‘Uninsurable’

The state Assembly passed AB 1887 (Mike Villines, R-Clovis) that establishes a temporary high-risk health insurance pool program in California.

It’s designed to cover patients with a pre-existing condition who have been rejected for coverage by a private health plan. It would insure high-risk patients here for the next four years, until the federal government sets up a permanent health care exchange in 2014.

The legislation complies with new federal health care reform law, and allows the state to tap into $761 million a year in federal funds. High-risk coverage is expected to reach about 30,000 people in California.

“We are one step closer to ensuring that those with pre-existing conditions will be able to get the health care they need,” Villines said. 

California has run its own high-risk insurance pool for the past 20 years, for about 7,000 California patients. It has been administered by the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board. It remains unclear exactly how MRMIB will interact with the new program over the next four years.

AB 1887, one of several bills before the Legislature aiming to reshape California’s health care market in accordance with federal reforms, passed on a 60-0 vote. The bill now goes to the state Senate.

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