Federal High Risk Pools: How to Find Information in Your State

A couple of days ago, I promised to provide some information on the high risk health insurance pools being set up in each state under the new healthcare law.  I am going to continue to keep an eye out and gather more information as time goes by, so please keep an eye on my blog as more information emerges.  Today I have provided a way for you to find the people you need to contact easily and quickly and hopefully to avoid the hassle of running around.

Not all the details for every state have emerged yet - I will continue to post more information as they come out, so please keep an eye on my blog.  The deadline for states to submit their proposals was June 1 according to the Request for Proposals (RFP), and the contracts will be awarded by the Secretary of Health and Human Services on July 1 (thus that's the date the pools can start operating) to states that have chosen to run their federal pools.  In cases of states that have not, HHS will administer.  You can find a list of states with existing high risk pools and their contact information here, but keep in mind that the existing program may be completely separate from the program they set up under the federal plan.

I was beginning to list all the states and their insurance agencies for you to contact, but then I found a much easier way.  The US Department of Health and Human Services phone system will direct you to your state's local HHS office.  You usually get a person on the phone there, and ask them who is running the upcoming federal high risk pool.  Note that your state may have its own high risk pool, and may choose to run the federal high risk pool under that same program if they meet HHS requirements, or they can set up a separate high risk pool for the federal program only.  So it's very important to ask for the information on the federal high risk pool.

Here is how you get in touch with the HHS:
  1. Call the HHS Information and Hotline Directory toll-free at 1-877-696-6775.
  2. Choose your language - Press 1 for English, 2 for Spanish. (I'm only writing about the English menu)
  3. In the next menu, Press 1 to get information about health insurance, etc.
  4. Enter your 3-digit area code.  Make sure this is an area code within your state.  If you have a cell phone that has a New York area code and you live in New Hampshire, please pick a NH area code instead.
  5. This will connect you to your state's local HHS office.  When you are connected, ask them whom you should contact about the upcoming federal high risk pool in your state.  They will give you a number to call within your state.  Ask for the name of the agency/division (whether federal or state) that will run it in your state.
  6. Call your local agency and ask how you can apply.
I have already done this for my fellow Californians, so you save a little work.  The California federal pool will be managed separate from the state's own high risk pool since they do not meet the federal requirements.  The federal pool, however, will be operated by the state, specifically by the following agency:
California Managed Risk Insurance Board
Phone: 916-324-4695
Hearing Impaired call through the California relay service at 800-735-2929.
Web: http://www.mrmib.ca.gov/
For your convenience, here is a list of the states and whether their federal risk pools are administered by the state or the federal government.

State Pool AdministrationFunding (in Millions of $)
Alabama Federal69
Alaska State13
Arizona Federal129
Arkansas State46
California State761
Colorado State90
Connecticut State50
Delaware Federal13
District of Columbia State9
Florida Federal351
Georgia Federal177
Hawaii Federal16
Idaho Federal24
Illinois State196
Indiana Federal93
Iowa State35
Kansas State36
Kentucky State63
Louisiana Federal71
Maine State17
Maryland State85
Massachusetts State77
Michigan State141
Minnesota Federal68
Mississippi Federal47
Missouri State81
Montana State16
Nebraska Federal23
Nevada Federal61
New Hampshire State20
New Jersey State141
New Mexico State37
New York State297
North Carolina State145
North Dakota Federal8
Ohio State152
Oklahoma State60
Oregon State66
Pennsylvania State160
Rhode Island Undecided as of 5/2113
South Carolina Federal74
South Dakota State11
Tennessee Federal97
Texas Federal493
Utah Undecided as of 5/2140
Vermont State8
Virginia Federal113
Washington State102
West Virginia State27
Wisconsin State73
Wyoming Federal8
Source: HHS Fact Sheet.

If and when you call for your state, and you find the agency/number, please email it to me (see my profile) or post it in the comment section so that I can build a database and post it publicly for everyone's benefit.  Thanks so much!

I must once again apologize for not having more information and instructions, but the fact is that awarding of the contracts do not happen until July 1, and I will be checking the HHS site every day from now on to see any more specific information coming along.  And again, if you find our information either about your state or the federal administration, please email or post a comment and let me know.  I want to be able to provide all the resources possible.  Thank you!

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