High-Risk Insurance Pools: A Flawed Model for Reform

Source: Morgan Mulveon, Karen Davenport, Ellen-Marie Whelan, Center for American Progress, September 29, 2008

Under conservative plans for health care reform, many more Americans with pre-existing conditions would find it even more difficult to obtain reasonably priced care. High-risk pools are state-sponsored associations that offer health insurance to the “medically uninsurable,” or individuals who are unable to obtain coverage in the private market due to their medical history.

In theory, these pools could provide a viable option for high-cost individuals. In practice, using these pools as a model for nationwide reform would be extremely expensive. Policymakers should consider other approaches to providing affordable, adequate coverage to costly individuals, such as expansion of group coverage options and guaranteed availability of health insurance, known as guaranteed issue in insurance parlance. Click one of the links below to learn more.

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