Wednesday, March 2, 2011

More Misinformation on Pre-Existing Conditions

In case you hadn’t seen it, the new website launched on Tuesday.  Organized by several activist groups that support the law (e.g., the American Nurses Association), the website intends to provide “easy to understand information” about its contents.  Unfortunately, however, some of its statements are far from complete.  For instance, the video on the site’s homepage advertises “No Denials for Kids with Pre-existing Conditions.”  What it doesn’t mention however is the fact that, as Sen. Enzi’s HELP Committee staff discovered, families in 20 states are now unable to buy child-only insurance policies thanks to the new mandates imposed by the statute – meaning the promise of coverage for children with pre-existing conditions may turn out to be a hollow one.

Then there’s this apparently universal claim the website makes regarding pre-existing conditions:

No Denials Because of Pre-existing Conditions

Starting January 1, 2014, health insurance companies will no longer be able to refuse coverage or charge you a higher premium because of a pre-existing condition, including a disability.  A pre-existing condition is a health problem, disease or disability that an individual developed before they applied for health coverage.  Insurers will also no longer be able to base premium prices on gender or health status in the individual and small group markets.  Individuals who buy their coverage straight from insurance companies purchase coverage on the individual market. Small businesses that purchase health insurance for their employees buy it on the small group market.

Even one of the site’s sponsors, AARP, previously admitted that the blanket claims made on the website are FALSE:  Pre-existing condition protections do NOT extend to Medigap plans.  Yet the AARP-sponsored website doesn’t include a single mention that the law allows companies offering Medigap plans to continue imposing waiting periods on seniors with pre-existing conditions.  Funny that.

You may recall that Secretary Sebelius previously wrote she would not tolerate any “misinformation” regarding the health care law from entities offering health insurance products.  I’m sure that means her letter to the sponsors of the Health Care and You website is in the mail.