Bill Would Amend Affordable Care Act to Expand Availability of Access to High-Risk Pools

stethoscope and gavel2.JPGRecently-introduced legislation would amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act) to allow chronically ill individuals with pre-existing conditions who have exhausted their COBRA continuation coverage to have access to the high-risk health insurance pool program created by the new health care law. The High-Risk Pool Fairness Act (H.R. 5664) introduced by Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-IN) would eliminate the current eligibility requirement that individuals be uninsured for six months before they may take advantage of the high-risk insurance pool program if they have exhausted their COBRA continuation coverage.

In a statement, Rep. Ellsworth explained that “[a] bureaucratic misinterpretation of the health care bill requires individuals be uninsured for six months before they are eligible to enroll in the new high-risk pools regardless of their situation.” Ellsworth explained that “[t]his bill will ensure chronically-ill Americans with pre-existing conditions who have run out of their COBRA insurance will have access to affordable coverage. It also will lower premiums for the insured by reducing the ‘hidden-tax’ insurance companies charge the insured when the uninsured visit the emergency room.” According to Ellsworth, the six-month waiting period was added to ensure that participants did not “game the system” by dropping their current policy for one offered through the new high-risk pool program.

This bill has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

This entry was written by Ilyse Schuman

Photo credit:  Feverpitch Photography

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.