NU Online News Service, Sept. 29, 2003, 1:12 p.m. EDT – California is putting new limits on participation in its Major Risk Medical Insurance Program, the state’s insurance pool for residents with health problems.

Residents now must leave the MRMIP risk pool program after 36 months. Any health insurer or health maintenance organization in the California individual health coverage market must offer coverage to recent MRMIP “graduates” on a guaranteed issue basis.

The private insurers and private HMOs can charge the MRMIP graduates about 10% more than they were paying for MRMIP coverage, California officials say.

Residents with serious health problems who fail to buy the guaranteed-issue coverage within 63 days of leaving the risk pool program may lose the ability to buy private health insurance.

California officials have posted more information at