The program got off to a slow start, partly because insurance isn't cheap. It offers policies at market rates, and that can mean premiums of $500 a month for someone in their 50s. The first inkling of financial problems came in February, when HHS announced a freeze on new applications.
The plan was intended only as a stopgap until the law's main push to cover the uninsured starts next year. Subsidized private insurance will be available through new state-based markets, as well as an expanded version of Medicaid for low-income people. At the same time, virtually all Americans will be required to carry a policy, or pay a fine.
States are free to accept or reject the Medicaid expansion, and the new problems with the stopgap insurance plan could well have a bearing on their decisions.
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