Colorado unveils coverage for pre-existing conditions | AspenTimes.com

Colorado unveils coverage for pre-existing conditions

Dan Elliott
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER – A new health insurance plan for Coloradans who were denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions began accepting applications Tuesday.

The plan, called Getting Us Covered, is open to Colorado residents who are U.S. citizens and have been uninsured for at least six months.

The plan is structured to cover the estimated 4,000 people in Colorado who fit that criteria, said Steve ErkenBrack, president and CEO of Rocky Mountain Health Plans, a not-for-profit group that will help provide coverage.

It will be phased out in about 2014, when federal health care legislation begins requiring insurers to accept people with pre-existing conditions.

The program will be funded by a $90 million allocation from the federal government. No state money will be used, Gov. Bill Ritter told a news conference announcing details of the program.

“There are too many people who are uninsured, and the uninsured are quite costly to the system,” Ritter said.

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Monthly premiums will range from $115 to $601 for nonsmokers, depending on a participant’s age and county of residence. The policy has a deductible of $2,500 and copays of $30 to $45.

“There’s no question the $2,500 is a high number,” ErkenBrack said later. He said the amount was developed by actuaries – statisticians who calculate health risks and costs.

ErkenBrack said he expects fewer than 1,000 people to apply for coverage by the end of this year. If more people apply than the plan can cover, they will be put on a waiting list.

Participants can apply at http://www.GettingUsCovered.org.

CoverColorado, the state’s high-risk insurance pool established by the Legislature in 1991, and the federal Health and Human Services Department are also participating in operating the plan.

Colorado is one of 29 states that will administer their own plans. The federal government will run the program in the remaining 21 states.

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