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Federal Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan Extended

Those already enrolled can expect 2 more months of coverage

January 21, 2014

Written By Nicole Katze, MA, Writer and Editorial Coordinator

Those enrolled in the federally-run Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) now have 2 additional months of coverage, government officials announced. Coverage will continue through March 31, 2014, to ensure people can continue their medical treatment while finding and enrolling in new health plans through state marketplaces/exchanges.

Background 

PCIP was created in 2010 under the Affordable Care Act to provide health insurance to people with pre-existing medical conditions. Pre-existing conditions are health problems a person has before joining a health insurance plan, and include long-term illnesses like cancer or heart disease.

In the past, health insurance providers could refuse or delay coverage of people with pre-existing medical conditions. PCIP was created to help those people get insurance to help pay for the costs of their care.

Why PCIP Stopped Enrolling New Members

The ACA made it illegal for health insurance providers to refuse coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. It also made health coverage options more easily available through the creation of health insurance marketplaces/exchanges.

Because of the new policies, the PCIP program stopped accepting new members in early 2013, as the program administrators expected those already covered under the plan to transition to new marketplace plans before 2014.

Why Coverage Was Extended

When the marketplaces/exchanges officially opened at the end of last year, many people had trouble using the website. Though there are ways to buy a plan by phone or in person, too few people were able to enroll. Congress extended the enrollment deadline to give everyone more time to compare and choose plans that best fit their needs.

The decision to extend PCIP coverage followed so people who use it can continue receiving medical care while they look for new health plans. PCIP’s coverage ends the same day that marketplace enrollment closes: on March 31, 2014.

What This Means for You

If you have health insurance through PCIP, this extension gives you more time to look for a marketplace healthcare plan that meets your needs as a person with breast cancer. Be sure to find and purchase a plan before the deadline to ensure there are no gaps in your coverage.

For more information on the marketplaces/exchanges, or to compare or purchase plans, visit healthcare.gov.

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