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What is a state high-risk pool for health insurance?

Thirty states have established government programs called "high-risk pools" that offer health insurance coverage to "uninsurable" residents whom private insurers might turn down because of their health status. Approximately 175,000 people are enrolled in high-risk pools across the U.S. For people enrolled in these programs, high-risk pools offer an important (often the only) source of available coverage.

High-risk pools typically offer coverage similar to that sold by private insurers. Even so, in some states, high-risk pool benefits are limited (for example, imposing high deductibles or limiting coverage for certain services such as mental health care or maternity care). Also, like private insurance companies, high-risk pools will impose a waiting period of 6-12 months on coverage of pre-existing conditions. Sometimes, though not always, high-risk pools will waive the pre-existing condition exclusion period if you have prior coverage.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.