Jun 14, 2013
Washington State just announced that it will continue offering health coverage for people with pre-existing conditions – a win for people with MS and other health conditions who have been unable to find coverage elsewhere. As part of its ongoing efforts to ensure people with MS benefit from health care reform, the National MS Society has been encouraging the state and federal government to maintain health insurance programs for people denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. The future of the program was in jeopardy after costs were higher than expected, but the National MS Society and other consumer advocates successfully pushed hard to maintain coverage.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” says the Greater Northwest Chapter’s advocacy director Jim Freeburg, “but the biggest change for people with MS will come in 2014 when insurance companies will no longer be able to turn away someone because of their health status.”
The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) is one of two high risk pools in Washington for people who have been unable to obtain coverage elsewhere – the other is the Washington State Health Insurance Pool (WSHIP). PCIP was created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and serves many people with MS who have been without coverage for at least six months. MS is one of the most common conditions in the plan which, while expensive, has been a key piece of the safety net for people with MS.
As part of the solution to save the plan, enrollees in PCIP will roll over to a federally-run plan starting July 1, 2013. The coverage will end on Dec. 31, 2013 when provisions in the ACA kick in and insurers will no longer be able to deny coverage because of a pre-existing condition. WSHIP enrollees are unaffected by this change. For more information, PCIP enrollees should visit www.pciplan.com or call an MS Navigator at 800-344-4867 and press 1.