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Health Insurance Drops for Pre-Existing Ailments

A big drop in health insurance premiums for older Connecticut residents with pre-existing conditions under a year-old federal program will likely result in a big jump in enrollees, said Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

Malloy said Tuesday that federal approval of a flat $381 monthly premium for the Connecticut Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, starting Sept. 1, will cut “premium costs by as much as 57% for older beneficiaries.” The plan currently enrolls 75 residents.

Malloy said the new, uniform “community rate” premium will be significantly less expensive for enrollees aged 50 and older.

Currently, the top premium amount is $893 for the 65-and-older age group, Malloy said.

“While most people in this age group have Medicare, people (who do need this coverage) in the 60-to-64 age range were paying $776. This put the program out of reach for many potential enrollees,” Malloy said in a statement. “The costs will go down for most of the 75 current enrollees, and should go a long way to attract new applicants.”

Malloy praised the federal government for approving the change.

“I thank the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for approving my administration’s request to (create) a more affordable premium rate for many uninsured Connecticut residents,” Malloy said.  “This program was specifically created to serve people with serious pre-existing medical conditions. “It has been slow getting off the ground, in large part due to premiums that were out of reach for many people, especially older adults.”

Since its August 2010 launch the plan has based premium rates on age ranges. Rates for younger people begin at $243 and increase incrementally per 10 years of age, costing $893 at age 65.

The federal Department of Social Services, the administering agency, appealed to federal authorities in late June to establish a single rate of $381, which was approved Friday.

“On balance, the new $381 premium will help attract the main target audience of the plan,” said Social Services Commissioner Roderick L. Bremby. “Middle-aged and older adults with medical conditions usually have the most difficult time finding affordable, good-quality insurance coverage if they’re on their own without coverage in the workplace.”

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What do you think of the lower health insurance costs that will take effect Sept. 1 for older people with pre-existing conditions? Let us know in a comment below.

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