Saturday, August 22, 2009

Health Insurance Reform

Well, it seems that the White House is indeed calling it "health insurance reform." So much for that brilliant idea. (I get the feeling this is kind of recent, though, when they backed down from reforming as much as they wanted to.)

I realized shortly after writing my last post that in my search for the eight principles, I did not actually find the ones I had intended to (which might explain why my post didn't make as much sense as it did in my head). I think I might be excused for this mistake, as I didn't realize Barack Obama came from an alien race with a base eight counting system: everything the White House has published about health care has been in groups of eight. There's the "eight ways reform provides security and stability for those with or without coverage," the "eight common myths about health insurance reform," the "eight reasons we need health insurance reform now," the "set of eight principles for transforming and modernizing America's health care system," and last (at least that I've seen) but not least, those eight I actually intended to post: "health insurance consumer protections: the security you get from health insurance reform":

  • No Discrimination for Pre-Existing Conditions. Insurance companies will be prohibited from refusing you coverage because of your medical history.
  • No Exorbitant Out-of-Pocket Expenses, Deductibles or Co-Pays. Insurance companies will have to abide by yearly caps on how much they can charge for out-of-pocket expenses.
  • No Cost-Sharing for Preventive Care. Insurance companies must fully cover, without charge, regular checkups and tests that help you prevent illness, such as mammograms or eye and foot exams for diabetics.
  • No Dropping of Coverage for Seriously Ill. Insurance companies will be prohibited from dropping or watering down insurance coverage for those who become seriously ill.
  • No Gender Discrimination. Insurance companies will be prohibited from charging you more because of your gender.
  • No Annual or Lifetime Caps on Coverage. Insurance companies will be prevented from placing annual or lifetime caps on the coverage you receive.
  • Extended Coverage for Young Adults. Children would continue to be eligible for family coverage through the age of 26.
  • Guaranteed Insurance Renewal. Insurance companies will be required to renew any policy as long as the policyholder pays their premium in full. Insurance companies won't be allowed to refuse renewal because someone became sick.
These are basic reforms that would fix what is horribly unfair and ridiculous (and sneaky) about our insurance system. Though I obviously would prefer something more sweeping and socialized, these protections (minus the extended coverage for young adults) are (or should be) something everyone could agree on as basically fair and what insurance companies should be doing anyway.

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