Pre-existing insurance extended for one month for those who missed Jan. 1 deadline

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Americans with transitional government insurance for people with pre-existing conditions will have another month to shop for a private plan if they missed the deadline for new coverage that takes effect on Jan. 1st.

The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP)  was launched in 2010 under the Affordable Care Act. It has served as a bridge, providing health insurance to people who were turned away from or priced out of conventional health insurance plans because of an illness or other medical issue.

"The purpose of [PCIP] was to get them to January 1st, 2014, when it becomes illegal for insurers to discriminate against people with pre-existing medical conditions or charge them more," says Jack Cheevers, spokesman for the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in San Francisco.

PCIP was designed to expire on Dec. 31st, but the government is extending it to Jan. 31st, to give people who need it more time to shop for a private plan.

Those who want to continue their PCIP coverage must mail in a payment before January 6th, as the  program will no longer  accept automatic payments.

In order to have new insurance by February 1st, you'll need to sign up for it on or by Jan.15th, Cheevers says.  

As of late October, there were 12,780  Californians enrolled in PCIP.


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