One of the first direct impacts of the federal healthcare overhaul law to reach Missouri appears to be gaining some steam, but slowly. .
The federal government has given Missouri 81-million dollars to set up a new high-risk insurance pool for people with pre-existing conditions who cannot get coverage from insurance companies. Fewer than 100 people enrolled in the firt six weeks last summer. But insurance department spokesman Travis Ford says enrollment has more than doubled in the past four months and is nearing 500.
Ford says the department thinks the pool can cover about 2,000 more people. It already has paid out its first benefits to enrollees.
The pool is a short-term program for high-risk Missourians. The state pool will be replaced in 2014 when the federal law requires all health insurance companies to offer coverage at standard market rate regardless of the health status of the consumer. That assumes the federal healthcare law survives various court challenges. If it doesn’t, Ford says the state has its own high-risk pool into which people could transfer.