No decision on who will run Utah's new high risk insurance pool

Published June 3, 2010 12:01 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is the nation's sole holdout in deciding who will set up a temporary high risk insurance pool for his state's uninsurable residents.

Herbert had until Friday to deliver his decision to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services officials. But at the close of business Friday, his spokesman said Herbert was still waiting for information from the federal government regarding costs.

"It is safe to say at this point that he continues to have serious concerns about the state of Utah implementing the program without adequate federal funding or the assurance that Utah taxpayers will not be left covering the difference if federal funding falls short," said his spokeswoman, Angie Welling.

Mandated by the new federal health overhaul, the pool is supposed to be up and running at the start of July. It is designed to offer affordable coverage to people deemed uninsurable until a new marketplace is created in 2014, to sell insurance to all who apply. States will have the option to restrict enrollment in the pools if costs exceed funding.

Many states rejecting the role of running the pools are led by Republican governors, such as in Alabama, Florida and Georgia. Utah is the lone holdout that has not dislcosed it plans.

The federal government will run the program in states that declined the task. Utah has its own high-risk pool that could be tweaked or expanded to meet the new federal guidelines.

Worried that the new federal pool is underfunded, Herbert had asked state insurance officials for a cost analysis. Results of the analysis haven't been announced.

-- Kirsten Stewart

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