|Insurers Say: With or Without You, PPACA|
No matter what happens with the Supreme Court ruling, the nation’s largest single private insurer, United Health Group, announced it will keep offering some of the law’s most popular insurance market reforms to its customers. Aetna and Humana both made a similar announcements.
Effective today, all United, Aetna and Humana policies will include provisions related to coverage of preventive health care services, coverage of dependents up to age 26, lifetime policy limits, rescissions and appeals. No matter what happens with health reform at the federal level, the company says these benefits will remain available to current and future customers and members. The company is not establishing any sunset provisions.
In order to maintain market stability, United also announced its intent to work with other private insurers to ensure that children ages 19 and under will all still have access to coverage without preexisting condition limitations. However, CIGNA has already announced that it will not make any changes to its benefit plan offerings until after the Supreme Court rules on PPACA later this month.
In the viewpoint of the National Association of Health Underwriters ( (NAHU), it’s unsurprising that the private market plans to continue to accommodate the popular portions of the law on a voluntary basis. That’s the power of a free market at work. What’s more concerning to us are the parts of the law that have already been implemented and over which the private market has no control. For example, the federal Preexisting Condition Insurance Program is currently serving about 56,000 Americans. Should the law be struck down, many of those individuals will be able to get coverage through state high-risk pool programs, albeit at a much more expensive rate. However, in a number of states, there are no high-risk pools to turn to, so medically uninsurable people cannot buy private coverage in the individual market at any price. Which means thousands of very sick individuals may well become the collateral damage of a political decision to pass a law that may be at least partly unconstitutional without including a severability clause.