OLYMPIA - Washington residents who've been uninsured for at least six months and who have a pre-existing medical condition now can apply for coverage under the new, federally funded Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan, starting Monday, Aug. 2.

The new Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan is being run by the state's current high risk pool, the Washington State Health Insurance Pool (WSHIP), and funded by a $102 million grant from the federal government until 2014.

"If you've been without health insurance for at least six months, and have a serious medical condition or just received a diagnosis, this could be the plan for you," said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. "Unlike the state's high risk pool, coverage for pre-existing conditions under the new Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan begins immediately."

"The new plan is designed to be a stop-gap measure to help those most in need of coverage until 2014, when full health reform takes effect and people cannot be denied insurance because of a pre-existing medical condition," he added.

To qualify for the new plan, you must be a Washington state resident and:

? Be a citizen or national of the United States or a legal resident of the United States

? Have been uninsured for at least six months before applying and

? Have a pre-existing condition

The benefits under the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan vary depending on which deductible you select, $2,500 or $500:

? Rates for the $2,500 deductible plan range from $161-$769 per month, depending on your age and whether or not you smoke.

? Rates under the $500 deductible plan are $324-$1,577 per month, also depending on your age and whether or not you smoke.

Coverage for those who apply by Aug. 15 will begin Sept. 1, 2010.

Applications for the new plan are available at (www.wship.org/PCIP-WA) or by calling toll-free 1-877-505-0514.

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