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HHS: Health Insurance Rates Drop 40% for Pre-Existing Conditions in Florida

Premium prices on health insurance plans covering pre-existing conditions have dropped 40 percent in Florida, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Tuesday.

The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, created by the Affordable Care Act, "changes lives, and in many cases, literally saves lives, said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

HHS said that a 50-year-old Floridian can now get comprehensive health coverage for as low as $270 per month. The new, reduced rates take effect July 1.

Under the new enrollment plan, Florida residents can prove their pre-existing condition by providing a letter from a doctor, physician assistant or nurse practitioner dated within the past 12 months stating that they have or, at any time in the past, had a medical condition, disability or illness.

"This option became available to children under age 19 in February, and we are extending this pathway to all applicants regardless of age," Sebelius said in a statement."Applicants will no longer have to wait on an insurance company to send them a denial letter."

PCIP coverage includes primary and specialty care, hospital care, prescription drugs, home health and hospice care, skilled nursing care and preventive health and maternity care.Floridians enrolled in PCIP have access to a provider network that includes 37,705 physicians, 4,751 pharmacies and 312 hospitals, HHS said.

To qualify for this program, a person applying for coverage must be: a U.S. citizen or residing here legally; have been without health coverage for at least six months before applying; and have a pre-existing condition or have been denied coverage because of a health condition. Eligibility is not based on income and enrollees are not charged a higher premium because of a medical condition.

Beginning this fall, HHS said it will begin paying agents and brokers for successfully connecting eligible people with the PCIP program.

Read more here.

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