Moving the bar

Interesting bit of reporting from N. C. Aizenman in the Washington Post this morning:

Officials at UnitedHealthcare will announce Monday that whatever the outcome of the court decision — expected this month — the company will continue to provide customers preventive health-care services without co-payments or other out-of-pocket charges, allow parents to keep adult children up to age 26 on their plans, and maintain the more streamlined appeals process required by the law.

UnitedHealthcare would also continue to observe the law’s prohibitions on putting lifetime limits on insurance payouts and rescinding coverage after a member becomes ill, except in cases where a member intentionally lied on an insurance application.

Now the cynic in me wonders if this is because ending these provisions the second the law goes into effect would cause tons of people to lose their minds. As we’ve argued before, there are lots of things in the law which are massively popular. But it’s possible that we’ve seen a shift in what’s considered “acceptable” in insurance. After all, trying to justify recisions or lifetime limits on those who’ve been good customers is hard to do.

It’s not all roses, though:

The “Patients Bill of Rights” also includes several mandates that UnitedHealthcare did not pledge to continue complying with in the event the Supreme Court invalidates the law. These include the elimination of annual limits on insurance payouts, which are being phased out under the law, and that statute’s ban on denying coverage to children with preexisting conditions.

This will be a fascinating month.


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