Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Health plans for high-risk patients attracting fewer, costing more than expected

An early feature of the new health-care law that allows people who are previously sick to get insurance to cover their medical costs isn't attracting as many customers as expected.

In the meantime, in at least a few states, claims for medical care covered by the "high-risk pools" are proving very expensive, and it is an open question whether the $5 billion allotted by Congress to start up the plans will be sufficient.

Federal health officials contend the new insurance policy, designed solely for people who already are sick, are merely experiencing growing pains. It will take time to spread the word that they exist and to adjust prices and benefits so that the plans are as attractive as possible, the officials say.

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