Governor says Indiana won't increase high-risk insurance pool

Associated Press
April 30, 2010
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Indiana won't expand its high-risk insurance pool for people with pre-existing medical conditions, instead allowing the federal government to establish such coverage in the state, Gov. Mitch Daniels said Friday.

Daniels sent a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius saying the costs and requirements for Indiana because of the expanded coverage are unknown and federal funding for the project will run out before the program ends in 2014.

"The risks Indiana is being asked to take are well beyond any range of acceptability," Daniels wrote. Expanding Indiana's existing high-risk program, he wrote, could expose state taxpayers to "an open-ended and potentially enormous new burden."

The new federal health care law offers subsidized premiums to people with some pre-existing conditions. Sebelius gave states a Friday deadline to say whether they'd participate. A federal backup program will serve residents of states not participating in the expansion.

The expanded high-risk pool will be temporary and last only until 2014, when denial of coverage for medical reasons will be illegal and new insurance markets will offer taxpayer- subsidized coverage for millions of people.

David Roos, director of the public health insurance advocacy group Covering Kids & Families of Indiana, said Daniels' decision effectively will create two government options, one federal and one state, for people with existing conditions who aren't able to get private coverage.

"I think the governor is being prudent," Roos said.

However, federal coverage will be available only to people uninsured for at least six months. People now on Indiana's program who opt to switch to the federal program would have to go without insurance for six months.

Premiums for the federal coverage, due to take effect June 21, haven't been set.

Indiana is one of 34 states offering its own high-risk pool, the Indiana Comprehensive Health Insurance Association. It covers about 7,000 people who either have or have received treatment for cancer, hemophilia, AIDS and certain other conditions. The monthly premium for the highest-deductible plan is $562, and $763 for the lowest-deductible one, according to Kaiser State Health Facts, a project of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Indiana is among at least 18 states suing to overturn the health care overhaul. Daniels contends it will lead to higher taxes, higher health care costs and a weaker economy.


  • Susan...
    Susan, what is your age/plan/region? With 5 plans available, your best bet is the $5,000 deductible plan.
    You don know that Anthem manages the claims, yes? It's actually a great plan, has Anthem's network ( BCBS ) and is cheaper than many group insurance rates with better benefits in some cases.
  • sir:
    This is a lie. My premiums are $911.03 per month and have just been increased by 10 percent starting July 1! I do not have a preexisting condition; I was wrongly denied coverage by another company because I had a period of "depression" twenty years before and could not get coverage elsewhere!
    • Atlas-yes
      Atlas, right on. Your subtle comment ... well, I think I understand. The Indiana program is a complete failure. Sorry for the participants who died. But a great comment for a "true believer."
    • ICHIA sucks
      Are you serious Atlas? ICHIA is one of the poorest run insurance groups I or my doctor have ever encountered. I've experienced ridiculous, poorly trained customer service representatives, lapses in coverage for no apparent reason, continually rising copays & out of pocket costs on top of outrageous monthly payments.
      I've had report them twice to the state insurance board to get them to process claims. Even my doctor whose office is in Chicago & seen all sorts of insurance says this is the worst insurance program he has ever seen.
      I look forward to a federal program with some accountability and professionalism - that would be refreshing.
    • ICHIA is the best
      ndiana Comprehensive Health Insurance Association, also called ICHIA, or just Indiana Comprehensive, is a wonderful plan covering high risk, pre-existing patients who otherwise would do without. There may only be 7,000 people in the program now, but of course many former plan participants have since passed away. Indiana Comprehensive has provided health insurance and meds for so many people, many of whom waited a year on a waiting list to get in. I hate that the governor wants to stop accepting new patients. I just want to tell the people associated with ICHIA what a wonderful job they have done for so many, and to thank them. Cancer patients. Aids patients. All treated with great dignity by a health care plan that made everything easy for the patient. I hope and pray that this Indiana program survives and thrives and I encourage anyone associated with such issues to advocate for the program and its budget.
    • Huh?
      How does ICHIA put taxpayers at risk? Taxpayers don't fund it . . . insurers do. Did anyone explain this to The Blade?

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