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Q&A: Health coverage option for pre-existing conditions

Pre-existing condition coverage

I saw an item in the paper the other day that said there is now a health care option for people with pre-existing conditions who can't get insurance. What can you tell me about it?

The Affordable Care Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in 2010, includes the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), which is designed to help people with pre-existing conditions who can't get insurance.

Even though Florida is part of a lawsuit challenging the legality of the federal health care plan, Floridians are eligible for PCIP. The rules are that you:

• Must be a U.S. citizen or national or be residing in the country legally.

• Must have been without insurance for six months.

• Must have a pre-existing condition or have been denied coverage because of that condition.

The PCIP covers primary and specialty care, hospital care and prescriptions, and eligibility is not based on income.

It is a transitional plan that will end in 2014, when the health care plan is fully implemented and gives everyone access to insurance through exchanges.

The health care plan is the subject of intense political discussion. The lawsuit, which political observers expect to end up before the U.S. Supreme Court, challenges the legality of the government mandating that people buy insurance, and Republicans in Congress also are trying to repeal the law. So things could change between now and 2014.

To learn more about the plan for people with pre-existing conditions, visit www.pcip.gov.

For more about the overall health care plan, visit www.healthcare.gov/law/introduction/index.html.

Lawmakers and IRS debts

Have Tim Geitner and Charlie Rangel paid their back taxes yet? Also, how many other lawmakers owe money to the IRS?

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geitner paid the IRS the $42,702 he owed back in early 2009. He owed $34,023 in taxes and $8,679 in interest for mistakes he made on his tax returns from 2001-2004, when he was working for the International Monetary Fund.

Rangel, a longtime Democratic congressman from New York, apparently didn't disclose rental income from a Caribbean villa. He has paid about $10,000 in back taxes.

In a report last September to Congress, the IRS said 638 employees on Capitol Hill owed $9.3 million in overdue taxes. The IRS didn't identify the delinquent taxpayers, and also did not note whether any of those 638 were members of Congress.

Q&A: Health coverage option for pre-existing conditions 06/16/11 [Last modified: Thursday, June 16, 2011 2:48pm]
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