A study by officials in Washington estimates thousands of people losing health cover under Presidents Obama's health care law due to high costs.
According to a clause in the new law, those with pre-existing medical conditions or the unisurables - not able to avail health insurance, would now be able to be covered as companies could not refuse cover - under the new law.
AdvertisementIn a letter last week to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, state officials said they were "blindsided" and "very disappointed" by a federal proposal they contend would shift the risk for cost overruns to states.
"We are concerned about what will become of our high risk members' access to this decent and affordable coverage," wrote Michael Keough, chairman of the National Association of State Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans. States and local nonprofits administer the program in 27 states, and the federal government runs the remaining plans.
"We fear . . . catastrophic disruption of coverage for these vulnerable individuals," added Keough, who runs North Carolina's program. He warned of "large-scale enrollee terminations at this critical transition time."
There is a crisis as Obama government, though trying to persuade states to accept Medicaid expansion, the federal health law capped expenses at $5billion approximately, but the money is falling short because beneficiaries turned out to be costlier with advanced heart diseases and cancer found common among them.
Obama did not ask for any additional funding for the program in his latest budget, and a Republican bid to keep the program going by tapping other funds in the health-care law failed to win support in the House.
Brian Cook, a spokesman for the HHS agency overseeing the health-care law, objected with the idea that thousands of people could lose coverage, though he did not elaborate.
"These actions are part of our careful management of the program to ensure that there is a seamless transition . . . for enrollees, and that funding is spent appropriately," he said in a written statement.
The administration has given the state-based plans until next Wednesday to respond to proposed contract terms for the program's remaining seven months.
Hannah Punitha (IRDA Licence Number: 2710062)
Ricardo Alonso-Zaldiver, May 2013
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