Gov't Cuts Rates for Hard-to-Insure Patients

By Staff | May 31, 2011 | 11:58 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government says it will cut premiums by up to 40 percent and make other changes to make it easier for people with pre-existing medical conditions to get health insurance.

The move Tuesday comes as enrollment in the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan continues to lag far behind expectations, often because people can't afford the premiums or find it too hard to meet enrollment requirements. The insurance program is part of President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said diseases like cancer, diabetes and asthma have pushed up health insurance costs for many, bankrupting families and leaving people's health at risk. She said those people who have been locked out of the market still have a place where they can get immediate coverage.