updated 4/30/2010 6:20:40 PM ET 2010-04-30T22:20:40

A majority of states have told the Obama administration they want to take part in providing new coverage to uninsured people with medical problems — an early benefit of the health care overhaul law.

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The Health and Human Services Department announced Friday that 27 states and the District of Columbia have notified the administration they want to run special high-risk insurance pools. The programs will be in place until 2014 — when health insurance companies will no longer be allowed to deny coverage to people in poor health.

An additional 15 states said they would not set up their own pools, including several in which Republican governors opposed the overhaul legislation. In those states, the federal government will step in and run the program.

The high-risk pools will offer coverage to people with pre-existing health conditions who have been uninsured for 6 months, at a cost similar to what everybody else pays. But even with a hefty subsidy from the government, advocates for patients are concerned the cost may still be too high. Employer-provided health insurance averages nearly $5,800 a year for an individual.

The new high-risk coverage is expected to be available early this summer. Several states have yet to respond.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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