Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans

Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans

Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans - image0Usually I write on something I believe will benefit the practice, but occasionally, I choose to write on items that just capture my interest. Today’s column is the latter.

A bit of background: as you may know, the Affordable Care Act created what is called a Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) to make health insurance available to Americans who cannot afford or obtain traditional health insurance because of pre-existing conditions like diabetes, asthma, cancer and HIV/AIDS.  Texas had a similar high-risk plan in place before the health care reform law was passed. Now we also have a PCIP.

According to data from the official website, the number of Texans with PCIP coverage as of Nov. 30, 2011, was 3,644. That number seems very low to me considering Texas has a population of 26,403,743. Now, it’s a great benefit to those who need it, and that is a good thing.  Most people seem to have found another way to get coverage or are unfortunately doing without coverage.

That was a mild surprise, but the big surprise that really caught my eye—Alaska expects to spend $10 million this year to cover about 50 members of its PCIP. That is $200,000 per person. I know Alaska is big (still stinging from when I learned as a mere lad it is bigger than Texas), but for that amount each person could be assigned a full-time physician! That is oversimplifying the situation, I understand; but still, $10 million to cover 50 people is a lot of money.