For years, health insurance carriers refused to sell coverage to individuals with pre-existing medical conditions. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) created federally funded high risk pools across the country, including the Illinois Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (IPXP) so that people denied for that reason would not have to go without health insurance. Starting on January 1, 2014, the ACA bans insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions. As a result, IPXP will no longer be needed, and coverage under the plan will be terminated.
So what happens to the enrollees of IPXP on January 1, 2014?
The ACA dictates that anyone currently enrolled in IPXP will be transitioned into a private insurance plan via the state health insurance exchange. This transition process will happen at the end of 2013. According to the Illinois State Partnership Exchange Blueprint Application, the state has mechanisms in place to prevent lapses in health coverage, as follows:
- Illinois will send at least three letters to IPXP enrollees containing information on the transition process;
- The state will conduct proactive outreach to IPXP participants and update the IPXP website with relevant information; and
- The Illinois health insurance exchange will have extra personnel at the call center specifically to assist with the IPXP transition.
IPXP will only extend coverage for health services until December 31, 2013, which means that all current IPXP enrollees will need to find an alternative health plan before January 1, 2014. Claims dating from before December 31, 2013 will need to be filed in the close-out period, which will run until June 30, 2015. If deferral funding for the IPXP program has run out, however, even claims filed before that date will not be payable.
Open enrollment into the state health insurance exchange will begin on October 1, 2013, with insurance coverage beginning on January 1, 2014. If current IPXP enrollees purchase a plan during open enrollment, there should be no gaps in their health coverage. Since Illinois is still in the process of establishing its health insurance exchange, check back here for details on how and where to enroll in a health insurance exchange plan, as well as future updates on the IPXP transition process. If you have questions now, contact IPXP at (877) 210-9167, or e-mail your question directly to IPXPInquiry@healthalliance.org