High-risk pool enrollment continues to lag

Only about 45,000 U.S. residents have signed up for the temporary high-risk insurance pools established by the federal health care law, well below the 375,000 individuals who were projected to enroll in the plans by the end of 2010.

States had the option of running their own high-risk pools, which now are referred to as "legacy pools," or have the federal government run a pool for them. There are legacy pools in 35 states, with 222,000 enrollees.

According to Politico, cost has discouraged many individuals from enrolling in the federally run pools. After HHS lowered premiums for the 24 high-risk pools it runs, enrollment grew, though more slowly than expected.

At the same time, some states have depleted their allotted funds, because enrollees are significantly ill and many of the newly insured still are going to hospitals for primary care services (Millman, Politico, 2/13).

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