COLUMBUS, Ohio — Eighteen states have decided to turn their state Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan programs over to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, HHS officials said Tuesday.

HHS officials have asked states with state-based PCIP programs to accept a fixed, lower-than-expected budget allocation for the rest of the year or else shut down the state-based programs and put the enrollees in the federal PCIP program.

PCIP program managers in nine states seem to be inclined to accept the new HHS PCIP contract terms.

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