FAQs on the New High-Risk Pool

If you have been rejected for health coverage because of a preexisting medical condition, find out how the government's recently launched program can help.

One of the first big provisions of the health-care-reform law to take effect is the creation of a $5-billion program to provide coverage for people with medical conditions who have been rejected by private insurers. The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, a new high-risk pool, was launched in most states on July 1 and is designed to last until insurers can no longer reject people because of their health, in 2014.

The law sets the general rules for eligibility, pricing and coverage, but the specifics vary by state. Twenty-nine states (and the District of Columbia) chose to administer the plans themselves, while the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will run the plans in the remaining 21 states.

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Kimberly Lankford
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

As the "Ask Kim" columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Lankford receives hundreds of personal finance questions from readers every month. She is the author of Rescue Your Financial Life (McGraw-Hill, 2003), The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance -- and Still Get the Coverage You Need (Kaplan, 2006), Kiplinger's Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, 2007) and The Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families. She is frequently featured as a financial expert on television and radio, including NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio.