North Carolina officials announced today that more than 10,000 people have signed up for the state and federal high-risk insurance pools that are intended to allow chronically uninsured patients with pre-existing conditions to get coverage for a fraction of what they would pay a private insurer.
The federal program is the first major initiative enacted under the new health care law. It targets people who have been without health care for at least six months.
It is being offered side by side with an existing state program that targets people who have suddenly lost coverage because of job loss or because they've been turned down by private insurance companies.
There are currently 7,826 members in the state program, which launched in January 2009. The federal program has 2,630 members. It launched last summer.
Rates for both programs are set by law, making the premiums lower than what a person would get through a private insurer.