Hamm: North Dakota elects not to participate at this time in federal government's new temporary high risk health insurance pool
Posted on 4/30/2010
BISMARCK, N.D.-North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm, in a letter today to the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), said that North Dakota will not operate the federal government's new temporary high risk health insurance pool.
Hamm wrote, "I have carefully analyzed and considered this issue, including conferring with elected state leaders and the Board of Directors of North Dakota's existing high risk insurance pool (Comprehensive Health Association of North Dakota (CHAND)). I have come to the conclusion that at this time the State of North Dakota will not seek to operate this new temporary federal insurance program."
The temporary high risk pool was created by the federal health care reform law for high risk individuals with pre-existing conditions. In order to be eligible for coverage, individuals must have been uninsured for six months. Hamm went on to convey to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius his concerns with the new federal high risk pool program.
"I am very concerned that the allotted money for this new federal program (you have estimated that North Dakota's potential allocation would be approximately $8 million) may be insufficient to fully run the program until it ends on January 1, 2014."
"North Dakota simply cannot afford to get stuck with an unfunded mandate," Hamm said.
Hamm also explained that CHAND's authority comes from statute and that if the legislature desires to further analyze this issue he will work with them to evaluate whether to allow HHS to continue the program in North Dakota or seek to integrate it into North Dakota's current CHAND program in the upcoming legislative session.
The federal government's new temporary high risk pool is the first of many provisions of the federal health care reform law that North Dakota and other states will be considering, and in his letter Hamm stressed to the federal government that he will thoroughly review each issue on behalf of the people of North Dakota.