Critics Argue for Overhaul, Expansion of California High-Risk Health Insurance Program

In a California Healthline Special Report with Deirdre Kennedy, two patient advocates and a representative of the health insurance industry spoke about MRMIP — California’s Major Risk Medical Insurance Program.

The Special Report includes comments from:

  • Elizabeth Landsberg, legislative advocate for Western Center on Law and Poverty;
  • Anthony Wright, executive director of  Health Access; and
  • Robert Zirkelbach, spokesperson for America’s Health Insurance Plans.

Health Access and the Western Center on Law and Poverty argue that California needs to improve its coverage for people deemed medically uninsurable by private health insurance companies. There’s usually a waiting list for people trying to get into the program, and for people who do get in, coverage is limited and subscribers can still accumulate thousands of dollars in medical debt.

“The biggest concern in terms of the coverage is that there’s a $75,000 annual cap,” said Landsberg. “You know, you can have a heart attack, you can be airlifted, after a serious accident and eat through $75,000 in a couple of days in a hospital” (Kennedy, California Healthline, 11/14).

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