Advocacy group says high risk pools will have a role regardless of ACA ruling


State-based high risk pools for the medically uninsurable should continue to play an important role in future health insurance markets regardless of the Supreme Court's decision next month on the Affordable Care Act's constitutionality, according to a strong majority (71 percent) of respondents to a May 2012 survey conducted by national advocacy group Communicating for America (CA).

"Based on the results of our survey and more than 35 years of experience CA has with high risk pools, we believe that high risk pools will help stabilize future health insurance markets while at the same time ensuring that all Americans, including those in poor health who are in the greatest need of coverage, are guaranteed the right to purchase insurance if they are willing and able to pay for it," said CA President Wayne Nelson in a prepared statement.

The non-profit CA bills itself as a non-partisan member-based organization that has "a long history of support for common-sense solutions to help the medically uninsurable access health coverage through state high risk pools." In 1976, CA helped establish the first high risk pool in Minnesota, and CA has been involved with the development of risk pools in many of the 34 other states that have since developed high risk pools.

"If the Supreme Court rules that the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional, but leaves in place the provisions restricting insurance companies from denying individuals based on pre-existing conditions and requiring community rating of premiums, the result will unquestionably be significantly increased premiums in the individual market," Nelson added. "However, even if the Supreme Court upholds the entirety of the new health law, we believe that there will be a continual role for risk pools to stabilize premiums and reduce the likelihood of adverse selection in state-based exchanges. States should be allowed to continue their existing programs until the state-based exchanges have proven to be effective and affordable for individuals."