Covering More Uninsured Americans Who Have Pre-Existing Conditions

By Richard Popper, Director of Insurance Programs in the Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight
Posted February 10, 2011

People who have medical conditions like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease often find it impossible to buy health insurance due to discrimination. The Affordable Care Act puts an end to that bias by requiring insurers to sell policies to all comers beginning in 2014. Until then, people who can’t buy coverage can turn to the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP).

Today we have some very good news. Thanks to the efforts of people from across the country, the number of Americans enrolled in these plans has jumped 50 percent in just three months. While we still have a long way to go before everyone with a medical condition can get insurance, this is welcome progress.

This program helps people who are desperately in need of coverage. The temporary program covers a broad range of health benefits and is designed as a bridge for people with pre-existing conditions who cannot obtain health insurance coverage in today’s private insurance market. 

To make sure as many people as possible know about and sign up for these benefits, we are actively working with States, consumer and patient advocates, chronic disease organizations, doctors, nurses, social workers, other federal agencies and the insurance industry to promote the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan.

For example, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is putting Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan information in the approximately 3.2 million Social Security Disability Insurance application receipts distributed each year. SSA is also promoting PCIP in their advocate newsletter, as well as on their website, and PCIP info is displayed on the TVs in the waiting rooms  of their more than 600 field offices.

To view the enrollment numbers in the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan in more detail, click here. – This website offers information about eligibility, benefits and more. Consumers can find online and print applications for the plan in their state. FAQs are also available to help both organizations and consumers better understand the program. To learn more visit