It seemed like a well meaning element of the controversial Affordable Health Care Act: until the full reform plan kicks into gear in 2014, give a chance to people with preexisting medical conditions—people who have the most difficulties finding insurance—a chance to apply for low-cost coverage. But after nearly a year in practice, only 18,313 people (as of March) have signed up for the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, even though there are potentially millions of Americans who would be eligible for the program. Why hasn’t the program picked up traction? At the same time the debate over Medicare’s future rages in Washington and the news for the giant, troubled entitlement health care program isn’t good: the annual Medicare forecast, produced by Medicare’s chief actuary, predicts that the main trust fund will be depleted by 2024. We get the latest financial report card of Medicare, especially as the health care reform bill kicks into gear, and ask why more people haven’t signed up for a program that could be so beneficial for the hard-to-insure.
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