La. high-risk health insurance pool closing

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s high-risk health insurance pool will close Dec. 31 for its roughly 1,900 policy holders.

Louisiana Health Plan Chief Executive Officer Leah Barron tells The Advocate (http://bit.ly/19l9mwc) that the plan, which began operating in 1991, was created to make sure health coverage was available to Louisiana residents who couldn’t buy coverage because of their health conditions.

Under the federal Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to people because of pre-existing health conditions. So, the Louisiana Health Plan must terminate its policies. Barron said the Health Plan has been working with private insurers to help get its members information about private plans available through the ACA and elsewhere, while fixes are being made to the federal government health care website.

“There were a lot of problems, obviously, in October with people not being able to get on the website,” Barron said. “We had a lot of people who really had a lot of trouble signing up.”

Under the Affordable Care Act, federal subsidies are available for people with low to moderate incomes. Barron said most of the people who want to buy coverage through the exchange qualify for the subsidy.

In November, the health plan sent policyholders paper applications for the federal marketplace along with the guidelines that showed who qualified for health subsidies.

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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