Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Health reform starts to go into effect

Today is a big day in Colorado. Today our state launches a website to help Colorado residents get health insurance until certain provisions in the health reform bill go into effect.

New Colorado health plan to cover those with pre-existing conditions

The program seems to be based on a state program that already existed: CoverColorado, which allowed people with pre-existing conditions to buy health insurance. I'm not sure how the new program differs.

The state program, a collaboration with Rocky Mountain Health Plans and the state's high-risk insurance pool, CoverColorado, will offer coverage to people who have been uninsured for at least six months and have been denied coverage because of a medical condition.

Colorado officials are keeping many details quiet until Tuesday, but the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said monthly premiums for the Colorado program will cost from $120 to $551 with a $2,500 deductible.

Interestingly, when I looked into CoverColorado in early 2005, there was no requirements about how long you'd been uninsured. Also, I believe the monthly premium for me — with my type 1 diabetes — fell within that range. The only thing I seem to remember is that I would have received a discount, since I made under a certain amount. But it was still several hundred dollars a month.

The actual deadline for individual states to implement this type of program was last Thursday, but apparently Colorado is still ahead of many other states. I suspect that having a similar program already in place made it easier to meet the requirements.

The health care bill's regulations prohibiting companies from denying people with pre-existing conditions won't go into effect until 2014, so the state programs are supposed to help people out in the interim. Hopefully, for the sake of people with diabetes and other pre-existing conditions, the rest of the states will get their acts together soon.

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