Question: I recently heard mention of a California "bridge the gap" insurance plan on the radio. It was part of a discussion about health care reform. What does that mean exactly? Is it available now?
Answer: They were referring to the Preexisting Conditions Insurance Plan or PCIP. It is one of the first major provisions of national health care reform to take effect and is available now. PCIP was designed to bridge the gap between now and 2014, when insurers will no longer be allowed to decline health coverage or charge higher premiums to individuals with pre-existing conditions. Coverage under the PCIP is available to Californians who have been without health coverage for at least six months and have been declined coverage from a carrier due to their pre-existing condition.