Insurance Commissioner Expresses Concerns over Federal Decision to Suspend Enrollments in Pre-Existing Condition Program

Feb 20, 2013, 15:56 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Insurance

HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Insurance Department today expressed concerns over an announcement last week by the federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) to suspend enrollment in pre-existing condition insurance plans by March 2.

Pennsylvania's pre-existing condition insurance plan, called PA Fair Care, was established in 2010 to comply with the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) and currently supports more than 6,500 Pennsylvanians. It provides coverage for enrollees whose pre-existing conditions make traditional health insurance unavailable or unaffordable.

The ACA established the plan as a transitional program to provide affordable coverage until enrollees could get access to insurance under the new federally facilitated-health insurance exchange in January 2014.

"Last week, we had conversations with the federal government leading us to believe they would not institute an enrollment cap until late fall, effectively maintaining an affordable option for these individuals until exchange coverage becomes available," Insurance Commissioner Mike Consedine said. "CMS's announcement to suspend enrollments the day after that conversation, not only took us by surprise, but raised significant concerns over the number of individuals that may be left without a coverage option over the next 10 months."

"We are committed to protecting consumers by thoroughly preparing Pennsylvanians for upcoming changes to the insurance market," Consedine added.

Consedine sent a letter to U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who oversees CMS, expressing his concerns and following up on the need for a summit between HHS and the Corbett administration around Affordable Care Act implementation in Pennsylvania.

The letter, along with previous correspondence on ACA-related initiatives, can be found by clicking on "Affordable Care Act News" on the Pennsylvania Insurance Department's website at

Media contactRosanne Placey or Melissa Fox, Insurance, 717-787-3289

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Insurance