REP. AGAIN LASHES OUT AS SOME PROVIDERS DROP PLANS TO KIDS WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS
By Steven Tavares
With a number of new regulations from the landmark health care reform bill passed earlier this year set to go into effect Thursday, three insurance companies have decided to stop offering plans to children with pre-existing conditions, according to the Washington Post.
The plans, known as "child-only" represent a small percentage of insurance company business, but critics say Wellpoint, Cigna and CoventryOne are making an end run before the new regulations halting rescission, the practice of indiscriminately dropping customers with costly illness, become law this week.
"Plain and simple, insurance companies can't be trusted," Rep. Pete Stark said in the latest of a string of recent statements highly critical of the insurance industry. He also cites a letter from the head of American Health Insurance Plans last March which offered the cooperation of insurance companies in abiding by the new regulations.
"Six months ago, the insurance industry trade association promised that their members would 'fully comply' with the provision in the health reform law outlawing discrimination against children with pre-existing conditions," said Stark. "Now with this consumer protection about to go into effect, we find out they didn't really mean it. The insurance industry has once again shown their reckless disregard for the well-being of consumers, which is why we need the health reform law that holds them accountable."
The insurance companies say they are not attempting to deny insurance to children. Instead, encouraging parents to included their child on more standard family health plans, they say.
In the past few months, Stark has sternly criticized insurance companies for steeply raising premiums offered to customers while reporting hundreds of million of dollars in profits. Stark is one of the co-authors of the health care reform bill and chairman of the House Ways and Means Health subcommittee.