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High-Risk Pool Gets Fast Track Treatment

California has been running its own high-risk insurance pool for the past 18 years. So the people running the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board (MRMIB) are extremely familiar with the pressing need for the program throughout the state.

When the federal government offered up funds to significantly expand the number of people who could have access to a high-risk insurance pool, California officials jumped at it.

“There are a lot of people in California who really need this,” MRMIB’s Deputy Director of Legislative and External Affairs Jeanie Esajian said. “And it is something MRMIB has strived to do for a long time — 18 years. This gives us the opportunity to provide services for so many more people.”

MRMIB submitted its application Thursday to set up a federally funded high-risk insurance pool in California. It expects to take vendor proposals this month, to issue patient applications in August, and begin approving patient services by September.

“This whole thing has been incredibly aggressive,” Esajian said. “This is something the MRMIB has strived to do for a long time. It’s a high priority for the governor. That’s why we’ve been pushing so hard.”

Esajian said many patients have already contacted the agency by email, asking to be put on the list for application forms. MRMIB submitted two pieces to the feds on Thursday, she said. “The first one’s how we’re going to run it, the details about how we’re going to do it. The second is to solicit vendor response.”

The state wants to quickly set up its Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Program (PCIP), and will hold a conference for potential vendors on July 12. It wants vendor proposals in by July 21.

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.

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