Although a state-sponsored insurance pool providing coverage to the riskiest patients is already in the works, administrators are searching for more people living in North Carolina that have been nudged out of the private market.
Since October, there have been only 500 residents who have applied for the North Carolina Health Insurance Risk Pool. According to Michael Keough, the program’s executive director, enrollments in the program have been increasing. He projects that around 180,000 people will be qualified in N.C.
The plan is aimed at people who have high-risk health conditions, like hemophilia or multiple sclerosis. The downside is that the insurance is quite expensive, but usually less than private insurance. Premiums are set at 150 to 200 percent of a health person’s private insurance. The state uses a few sources to support the program, mainly from a tax on health insurance premiums and a yearly cash withdrawal from the State Health Plan for public service workers. Health and Wellness Trust Fund gave provided it’s starting operations with a $5 million grant. Without this plan, some people would have to pay about twice as much with private insurance.
The health insurance pool was approved by N.C. lawmakers in 2007. Unfortunately, a small percentage of the approximately 1.4 million people in North Carolina that are uninsured will be covered by the pool. There are about 36 other states that currently provide similar plans.