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PCIP Program Gets Last-Minute Funding

Last month, it looked like the federally funded, state-run Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan was about to reach its beneficiary limit. The Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board, which oversees the program, was considering closing enrollment.

At yesterday’s board meeting, officials said 813 new enrollees had been added to the system in the past month — leaving fewer than 800 slots still open. But MRMIB had good news up its sleeve.

“We received the 2012 amendment for the PCIP contract from the feds,” MRMIB Executive Director Janette Casillas said, “and they have given us an increase.”

PCIP funding went from $229 million annually to $347 million.

“So we can cease our discussions at this time of disenrollment or limiting enrollment,” Casillas said. “I suggest that we continue our outreach, and not slow down at all, but sign up everyone who wants to take advantage of the program. This is good news.”

Casillas said there’s actually a little more federal money than that. “The amendment also includes a provision to also allow us to use unspent dollars in 2011,” she said.

Originally, the state estimated up to 23,000 people might be able to sign up for the federally financed PCIP program. But that estimate was based on a similar state-financed program, the Major Risk Medical Insurance Program (MRMIP), which has financial caps in place that the federal program does not have. Last month, the state got its first PCIP claims numbers, and they were much higher than MRMIP claims numbers.

The state revised its estimate to 6,800 participants, based on the federal dollars available. The infusion of new federal dollars was critical.

“So,” MRMIB Chair Cliff Allenby said with a smile, “we’re still in business.”

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