(Bloomberg) A program for sick Americans who were previously denied insurance coverage will be extended another month, through April, the Obama administration said Friday afternoon.
The Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan was originally set to expire on Dec. 31 and has been extended monthly since.
The Affordable Care Act prohibits insurers from denying coverage to sick people. Congressional Democrats included the federal high-risk pool in the law as an immediate stop-gap program for people who had been denied coverage by insurers and couldnt wait four years for medical underwriting to be outlawed.
The law provided $5 billion for the program, and enrollment was initially slow. The plan gained steam and eventually signed up about 135,000 people at its peak.
About 21,000 people remained in the program as of Jan. 31, according to data released by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.
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