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September 25, 2010 12:24 AM UTC

Health Reform Improving Lives of Coloradans

  • 28 Comments
  • by: CCHI

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

September 23rd Provisions Bring Consumers Accountability, Fairness, Security

Dede de Percin, Colorado Consumer Health Initiative

For years Coloradans have lived with uncertainty about their health insurance- lifetime caps, recissions, coverage for life-saving screenings.  New provisions that begin on September 23rd, the 6-month anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act, address some of the biggest concerns consumers had about the failing health system.  

These new requirements will help transform worry about coverage into stability, security, and peace of mind for health care consumers.

As of September 23rd, new and renewing health insurance policies must:

Stop Dropping Policyholders

Up until the Affordable Care Act, bottom-line obsessed insurance companies routinely cancel individual coverage of policyholders diagnosed with a serious and expensive disease like cancer.  Congressional hearing testimony in 2009 revealed that three major carriers canceled the coverage of more than 20,000 people, allowing the companies to avoid paying more than $300 million in medical claims over a five-year period.  Employees at these companies were praised in performance reviews for terminating the policies of customers with expensive illnesses.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners cites an average of 3.7 “recissions” (or insured people dropped after they get sick) per 1,000 policies.  Since 345,000 individuals purchase insurance in the individual market in Colorado, about 1,300 of our insured friends or family members were at-risk of being dropped from the coverage they think will protect them during an illness.

Eliminate Lifetime Insurance Limits

What a relief to know that your insurance will be there for as long as you need it if you are involved in an accident or become sick.  Beginning September 23rd health insurance companies will no longer be allowed to place lifetime limits on how much they pay out to cover claims.

This will bring great peace of mind to the Wilkes family, whose seven-year old son Thomas was born with hemophilia.  As a co-founder of a telecommunications company, father Nathan was shocked when his company’s insurer raised the price for the entire group of 120 employees to compensate for Thomas’ treatments, and instituted a brand-new $1 million cap on coverage, which the boy exceeded in just over one year.  Within another year, he burned through the state’s “last resort” insurer CoverColorado’s $1 million cap. At that point, a social worker suggested Nathan and his wife divorce so their son could qualify for Medicaid. That’s just wrong.    

Extend Coverage to Young Adults to Age 26

Colorado families and young adults will feel more secure that dependent health care coverage will cover children up to age 26 starting September 23rd.  This will affect as many as 18,600 young adults in Colorado and 1.64 million young adults nationwide, regardless of tax dependence or independence, student, employed or married.  “Grandfathered” plans can exclude this coverage, but only until 2014.

This health care security is a relief to CSU environmental policy graduate student David Taft, who now is able to pursue internships in his field that provide great job experiences but don’t offer health care coverage.  “I am so relieved I can stay on my parents’ health care plan so I can concentrate on learning at my sustainable development internship to prepare for my future career.”

Provide Affordable Preventive Care

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Regular and recommended screenings for diseases such as breast and prostate cancer, as well as essential health services, such as immunizations – save lives and money, and improve quality of life, stability of families, and productivity at work.  Policyholders will benefit from affordable preventive care, as insurers will be required to provide coverage for critical services such as immunizations or mammograms without charging co-pays or other forms of cost sharing.

There were literally hundreds of changes to the health system that took affect on March 23rd, the day the Affordable Care Act was signed into law.  In the past six months, we’ve seen additional reforms implemented, such as the federal high-risk pool and funding to help increase the Division of Insurance’s capacity to review health insurance premium rate increase filings.  

September 23rd is another big milestone in health reform, as these new provisions will help ensure healthier kids, families, and individuals in communities throughout Colorado. That’s the peace of mind we need and deserve.

Dede de Percin is the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative executive director.  CCHI’s membership includes over 60 statewide nonprofit organizations representing well over a million Colorado consumers of health care.

Comments

28 thoughts on “Health Reform Improving Lives of Coloradans

  1. My understanding is that insurance companies tend to pass on their increased cost of doing business to those paying the bill.  What rate hikes have been indicated?

    1. As well as a few other companies covering people I know.

      As a matter of fact, my premium has gone up 11% for the past two years.

      I don’t think there’s any correlation to the healthcare bill and rising premiums. Healthcare companies are for-profit businesses, which dictates that they try to get as much as they can from their customers.

    2. health care reform act.  hikes are averaging closer to ten percent but not really because the companies are trying to discredit health care reform — even thoiugh the right-wing noise machine is trumpeting those hikes as due to health care reform.

        The biggest problem seems to be our old friend adverse selection.   because of the recession, some folks have lost health care and can get 18 months of it through their old employer (that’s by law, though I forget the acronym) but only by paying full cost.  Guess what — healthy folks decide they can’t afford it and sick one pay the premium.  The same thing is happening with people without employer paid insurance.   Fewer healthy people with insurance, more sick people with insurance, and the result is adverse selection raising rates.

        No villains really, that’s just the way the world works.  It’s also a good argument for the mandatory coverage of Romneycare/Obamacare.

    1. you should appreciate this legislation more than anyone.  Especially as you and your family age.

      And “We, the people” aren’t funding much of anything AFAICS.

      What’s there to not like?  Look at the list above and tell me/us what is bad?  

    2. So, you expect a veto-proof majority?  

      And face it, the Rs will never tamper with the program — they’ll just make noises.  Show me one entitlement they defunded.

       Naw, they’ll cut a few million out of the National Endowment for hte Humanities and claim they would have done soooo much more if only that mean old Obama hadn’t threatened to veto them.   Try Gingrich-94-96 for the game plan.  It re-elected clinton and it will re-elect Obama.

      1. The loyal opposition has been beating the tax and spend drum without doing a damn thing about the spending side (except increase it steadily) since Reagan. Spending will not go down except for the trivial shownmanship cuts they like to trumpet. To seriously curtail spending Government needs to fold up and we can go back to horse drawn carriages, dirt roads, and doing our business in an outhouse.

        From Krugman yesterday in the NY Times: Howard Gleckman of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has done the math. As he points out, the only way to balance the budget by 2020, while simultaneously (a) making the Bush tax cuts permanent and (b) protecting all the programs Republicans say they won’t cut, is to completely abolish the rest of the federal government: “No more national parks, no more Small Business Administration loans, no more export subsidies, no more N.I.H. No more Medicaid (one-third of its budget pays for long-term care for our parents and others with disabilities). No more child health or child nutrition programs. No more highway construction. No more homeland security. Oh, and no more Congress.”

        1. bringing the budget for that category down from about 700 billion now to $500 billion in 2020.  That assumes no more optional wars like the one in Iraq and building no more super fighter planes that have everything except an opponent.  Other than that, we need to count on growing our way out of the deficit and holding down entitlements , not slashing them.   But we need to invest seriously in infrastructure and education because these generate wealth.

          1. DO the math after 50 employees figure the cost to be 1k per employee per month. See the problem is not about offering any competitive packages when the “mandated” options will increase the policies that most small biz in Colorado purchased, (the low end low cost policies) that will have to increase to meet the requirements….

            Show me one person who’s premium decreased. So your answer is its goes up 10% or so a year. Great, show me one business from 50-100 employees that their increase is less than 20%.

            Please, and let me know who that provider is….

            adding $1 million in cost to a small biz, yeah thats gonna stimulate the economy….

            No worries, I will have my economic plan for Colorado and the USA on the 4th maybe here first, as for fixing the economic mess.

            Or maybe, I should send it to all those involved to see what they think before I make it public.

            Maybe Ben d’ Bernanke can macro-micro credentialize my feeble attempt at a more aggressive monetary fiscal policy…or at least something with a little “vision.”

            Plus, why would I want to trash the Industry, heck when will I be at the Health Insurance industry meeting the people for politics, its at DU, Oct something like that, lets ask them then ok? fair enough?

            I will at least have 2-3 Minutes to get intense about this very subject…ok?

             

        1. operating under the pretense of being unaffiliated or a disgruntled ex-Republican who can’t stand the idea of helping people get affordable health care.

          I think I know what Charley’s alternative to affordable health care is.  Do Nothing.  Ta-daa.  Isn’t that easy.  Do nothing and the magnanimous health insurance industry will take care of everything including that billion dollar a year salary for their CEO.  Why didn’t Democrats think of that?

          1. Truth hurts either way, seriously, take a listen to all of the radio shows I have done since I started this campaign to “Stop the Insanity, fix the economic mess, and end the free rides…”

            How many more insurance companies will be dropping Colorado businesses? Yeah, right, great way to help Colorado, NOT.

            Btw, I voted for President Bill Clinton, and I am a firm believer in “THIRD WAY POLITICS,” the third way he pioneered, to balance that budget and move the welfare state from entitlement to empowerment.

            Btw, I do 9 Options to resolve Healthcare, you might as well listen to my recent show on Fascism.

  2. What are you even trying to communicate? And there’s no reason to use quotation marks over the word mandated – everyone is going to need to be covered in SOME fashion. Let’s dumb this down and get back to the roots. All insurance, without exception, is inherently socialistic. You’re paying to join a pool. You’re spreading the risk.

    Will there be questions? Yes. Will there be issues, grotesque lurching from providers, and things to sort out over the short term? Plenty – you’re talking about one of the most complex and far reaching industries in the world – the concept of a mandate is far too logical for it to be easy. That said, will the pool swell and the risk be spread over a spectrum of risks, making it infinitely more cost effective and efficient in the long run? Yes.

    Keep racking your brain over those numbers.

    Signed,

    Your Local Health Insurance Agent

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