The letter came from The State of Ohio, The Ohio Department of Insurance, and Medical Mutual. Good news never comes with that many names on the top of the letter.
We are sorry to inform you that your Ohio High Risk Pool coverage will be canceled at the end of the day on November 30, 2012.
The letter was dated November 12, 2012.
Some of the unhealthiest residents of the State of Ohio were being tossed off their insurance policy, the Ohio High Risk Pool. In less than three weeks they would no longer be insured. And nobody is standing in line to cover them. How could this happen?
The Ohio High Risk Pool is part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). A stop gap measure, the states were charged with the duty of offering coverage for the chronically uninsured suffering from significant preexisting conditions. The federal government also provided five billion dollars of which Ohio received $152,000,000 for the four year program.
To qualify for the Ohio High Risk Pool you must prove:
- That you have not been credible insurance coverage for at least six months
- That you have been declined by two insurers within the last six months
- You may skip #3 if your medical records show that you have a major illness that would have gotten you declined
You can not have had credible insurance coverage in the six months leading up to your application for coverage under the Ohio High Risk Pool. This is a federal requirement. Neither the State of Ohio nor Medical Mutual of Ohio, the insurer running our plan, has anything to do with this rule. Some people who are not easily insured have purchased supplements, a better than nothing option. If something happened while they were attempting to find real insurance or qualify for an affordable program, these responsible people were trying to do what they could.
My friend Dave is a conscientious insurance agent. He took a letter from American Medical and Life Insurance Company (AMLI) to the Ohio High Risk Pool. The letter, dated February 11, 2011 was sent to clients to advise them that their policy was no longer HIPAA credible coverage. Dave verified that since the AMLI CoreValue policy was no longer credible coverage, his clients, including family members, could retain this minimum semblance of coverage until they had six months of no real insurance and could enter the Ohio High Risk Pool. NO PROBLEM.
It is those people, those responsible people who attempted to have some coverage, no matter what, who are being kicked to the curb. The letter from the State specifically notes:
Our records indicate you were enrolled in an AMLI policy in the six months prior to enrolling in the Ohio High Risk Pool Program. Therefore, CMS directed us to cancel your coverage because you are not eligible for this program.
The PPACA is a poorly written law. We know that. Worse, the rules and regulations are being written on the fly. What complies one day is non-compliant the next. We went through this with the grandfathering rules. The costs, both human and financial, can’t possibly be calculated.
The Ohioans being kicked out of the High Risk Pool did nothing wrong. They followed the rules of that moment. We are talking about individuals who are gravely ill. What do they do now?