Montana must stop taking new enrollees into the state’s federally funded high-risk insurance pool by March 2, according to federal officials who wrote Insurance Commissioner Monica J. Lindeen last week.

Lindeen's Communications Director Lucas Hamilton says the federal high-risk pool stopped taking new enrollees on Friday, but that states had until March 2 to stop taking any new citizens into the pool. There are currently 344 people in the pool, which is administered by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana.

A high-risk pool is special insurance for people with serious pre-existing medical conditions who cannot buy insurance in the market because it is not available.

Montanans needing high risk insurance may still obtain it after March 2 through the other two programs managed by the state association. For more information, call the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance at 444-2040 or the Montana Comprehensive Health Association at 1-800-447-7828, ex. 2128

Lucas Hamilton