Pa. Insurance Plan For High-Risk Pool Ending Early

Pa. Insurance Plan For High-Risk Pool Ending Early

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A health insurance plan for Pennsylvanians with pre-existing conditions is ending earlier than expected, and participants will need to transition to a federal program to maintain coverage.

"Pennsylvania Fair Care" is a temporary, first-come, first-serve program for persons who were uninsured for up to six months before registering.

Benefits include preventive care, physician services, diagnosis and treatment of illness or injury, as well as emergency accident and medical care, and more.

The program was intended to be a bridge to the establishment of health exchanges beginning in 2014 as part of the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare."

Documents show that when Fair Care was created, it was expected to have approximately 5,600 individuals enrolled in 2013, its final year.

But the program had 6,779 participants one week before the latest enrollment offer ended in March.

Fair Care registrants were apparently notified in early June that the program is ending by month's end. The program's website states, "The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have notified Pennsylvania that they can no longer provide 100 percent funding for PA Fair Care."

So, the program's administrator, Highmark, is working to transition enrollees to a federal-run Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) and advising them to watch their mail carefully for an enrollment letter.

But FOX 29 News is told the notices may have been easy to miss.

Highmark has a toll free number in operation from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. That number is 1-888-767-7015.

Fair Care enrollees may also reach out to PCIP by: calling 1-866-717-5826 (TTY: 866-561-1604); visiting www.pcip.gov to find cost and benefit information as well as an online application; or going to www.pciplan.com, featuring plan materials and resources for health care providers.

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