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Insurance collections prepared in Some States

The Obama administration is poised to award contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars to about 20 states to run new insurance pools for people with serious medical problems. In another 20 states, where local officials chose not to participate, the federal government will run the pools through a private nonprofit entity.

Colorado, Maryland and North Carolina are in the vanguard of states planning to run high-risk pools with federal money. We are ready to go,� said Michael T. Keough, executive director of the California Health Insurance Risk Pool. Mr. Keough said he was prepared to start taking applications as soon as the federal government approved his program.

Applications will be available to the public in many states on Thursday, and coverage could start as early as August, said Richard A. Popper, deputy director of the new federal Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight. After struggling for months to fend off Republican attacks on the new health care law, White House officials hope the high-risk insurance pool will produce tangible benefits for people who are uninsured and for Democrats running in midterm elections this fall. The law has become an issue in many races.

Some states, like California and New York, are just finishing their proposals. Several others are tinkering with their plans to get federal approval. Democrats describe the program as a bridge to 2014, when insurers will be required to accept all applicants and consumers can do comparison shopping in marketplaces known as insurance exchanges.

In soliciting state proposals, Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, emphasized that states must not allow spending to exceed their allotments of federal money. State officials said they would freeze enrollment if necessary to keep within their budgets. It is not clear who would be legally responsible for claims that remain unpaid after a stateâ??s allotment runs out.

This entry was posted on Monday, July 12th, 2010 at 3:42 am and is filed under Health Insurance. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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