Health Insurers Promise To Preserve Popular Parts Of ACA If Supreme Court Overturns

If you believe this, I've got a Medicare Advantage policy to sell you.

UnitedHealthcare, Aetna, and Humana have pledged to continue with certain pieces of the Patient Bill of Rights if the Supreme Court should overturn the Affordable Care Act.

Don't be fooled. Here's what they're willing to extend: Insuring children until age 26, no lifetime limits on benefits, and not rescinding policies for people who become ill after they're insured, provided they didn't lie. Please note what they did not say they would preserve: Coverage for pre-existing conditions.

These "promises" by insurers are a whole lot of nothing intended to align with the fact that the consumer protection provisions of the Affordable Care Act are incredibly popular and will continue to be incredibly popular because well, people need access to health care and right now insurers are the gatekeepers.

Not only are they popular, but the Commonwealth Fund reports that 6.6 million young people kept their health insurance coverage through the provisions allowing them to remain on their parents' policy. I can attest to how important that was personally.

Still, as good as all of those things are, they do not hide the truth: If insurers are permitted to go back to refusing people with pre-existing conditions, then far more people will not have any access to affordable health care, nor will their adult offspring. If I could shout this from the mountaintops, I would: It's all about the pre-existing conditions. That's all it's about, and the Affordable Care Act was the means by which we gain access to affordable coverage without exclusion. By no stretch of the imagination should it be regarded as the final solution.

This is a smoke-and-mirrors public relations stunt. Don't let them fool you, or anyone else. The only takeaway is that insurers know people will continue to expect the same provisions they now have. In another 18 months, pre-existing conditions won't be a factor, and people will expect that, too. They're just heading everyone off at the pass and hoping the Supreme Court hears their plea.

By the way, did I mention that they didn't agree to limit their premium increases to maintain these provisions? Well, there's that too. They're tricky little devils, and they don't want to let go of their stranglehold on you.


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