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Health insurance

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: An important part of the health care reform law goes into effect today. In some states, people can apply to get into high-risk insurance pools today. The pools are intended to provide temporary insurance until the law fully takes effect in 2014. Marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer reports the application process is complicated and not everyone will get in.


Nancy Marshall Genzer: The health care reform law will prohibit insurers from denying coverage because of a pre-existing condition -- but not until 2014. The temporary high-risk pools are envisioned as a bridge to 2014. But there won't be room for everyone. Vivian Ho is a health care economist at Rice University:

Vivian Ho: There is going to have to be a limit on the number of individuals who have pre-existing conditions who are going to be able to sign up for this particular program. There just isn't enough money.

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that, if there's no limit, federal funding for the temporary high-risk pools will run out by 2013. So, the uninsured should apply right away. Some of the pools will be administered by the states. Others by the federal government.

Richard Cauchi is a health policy expert at the National Conference of State Legislatures. He says the federal government is launching a new website today, in an effort to reduce confusion.

Richard Cauchi: A state will often create a new program, the the real challenge is to get the word out in a positive, effective, media marketing style.

The website will let you compare insurance plans, and figure out if you're eligible for the temporary high-risk pool.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.

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