Politics

Big Health Insurance to Sick Kids: Suffer

| by AFL-CIO

It didn’t take long for Big Insurance to look for loopholes in the health care reform law. Just days after it was signed by President Obama, insurance companies are trying to weasel out of provisions designed to end the abuse and outrageous practices the insurance industry has inflicted on consumers and patients for years.

Sick kids are their first target.

Starting Sept. 23, the bill will ban insurance companies from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. But as The New York Times reports this morning, insurance lawyers are claiming the bill’s “fine print” allows them to refuse to cover children with pre-existing conditions such as asthma, diabetes, orthopedic problems, birth defects and other illnesses.

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That claim is “outrageous,” says Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.).

The ink has not yet dried on the health care reform bill, and already some deplorable health insurance companies are trying to duck away from covering children with pre-existing conditions. This is outrageous.

The new law says insurance companies “may not impose any pre-existing condition exclusion” in their policies covering children under age 19. The insurance companies assert the law only requires coverage for pre-existing conditions if a policy is sold and that it does not require access to a policy. In other words, insurance companies claim they can deny coverage for an entire family if one child is sick. Says Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.):

The concept that insurance companies would even seek to deny children coverage exemplifies why we fought for this reform.

U.S. Department o fHealth and Human Services (HHS) spokesman Nick Papas told Kaiser Health News:

The law is clear: Insurance plans that cover children cannot deny coverage to a child because he or she has a pre-existing condition. To ensure that there is no ambiguity on this point, the Secretary of HHS is preparing to issue regulations next month making it clear that the term “pre-existing exclusion” applies to both a child’s access to a plan and to his or her benefits once he or she is in the plan.

But you can bet the insurance company and their lawyers will fight every step of the way.

Click here to find out more about what the new health care reform law will do for you and your family.