August 5, 2008

Uninsureable? California Health Insurance Options

There is still hope for individuals that can not qualify for Health Insurance. The Major Risk Medical Insurance Program (MRMIP) offers limited health insurance benefits to California residents who are unable to purchase health insurance due to a pre-existing medical condition. If you have a pre-existing condition and are not eligible for COBRA, Cal-COBRA, or HIPAA, then you can apply to MRMIP as a last resort to obtain health coverage.

MRMIP provides health care coverage through contracted health insurance companies and health plans. MRMIP is partially subsidized; however, qualifying participants must pay a portion of the premium, which is costly.

As a result of California legislation there is a 36-month limit for participation in MRMIP. At the end of this period, MRMIP enrollees are given a one-time opportunity to purchase guaranteed issue health coverage through any indemnity policy, PPO, or HMO currently offering individual health coverage in California. Eligible MRMIP participants who are “disenrolling” after the 36-month period have 63 days to apply for individual health coverage. Ninety days prior to the disenrollment, MRMIP participants receive a notice of disenrollment and 45 days prior to disenrollment, participants are mailed a Certificate of Program Completion that enables them to obtain individual health coverage.

All participating indemnity insurance companies, PPOs, and HMOs who offer comprehensive individual medical coverage in California are required to offer a Standard Benefit Plan that is substantially the same as the health coverage offered while on MRMIP. These Standard Benefit Plans are the only health coverage required to be offered on a guaranteed issue basis and are separate from other individual health coverage that is available in the marketplace.

Before considering applying for MRMIP, consider other options; including joining your employer sponsored plan (if available) or applying for individual coverage. Many individual and family plans accept many pre-existing conditions, including high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and other common medical conditions. In some cases the insurance carrier will charge an "up-charge" or rating.

Always shop for the most competitive and
affordable health insurance coverages. Health insurance quoting websites such as QuoteBroker provide you with free instant quotes and comparisons from the largest insurance companies offering coverage in your state.