Private health insurers agree to revise pricing, eligibility for pre-existing conditions

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Two leading health insurance groups, The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) arguably made an effort to slow momentum for a government run health plan that might rival private plans yesterday. The two lobbies submitted a letter to Senate leaders agreeing to "phase out the practice of varying premiums based on health status," e.g. pre-existing conditions.

The letter, submitted to Sens. Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ted Kennedy (D-MA) as well as other senate leaders, also stated that insurers would continue to adjust variations in insurance premiums based on age, family size and place of residence. AHIP has introduced a number of policy concessions since President Obama was elected. The new administration has challenged the insurance industry by proposing new strategies, such as rival government sponsored coverage, expanding eligibility and competitive pricing.

"We get a continued recognition that we're working very hard to solve the problems and demonstrating the private sector can work," AHIP president Karen Ignagni said.

For more:
- see the Bloomberg News story
- see the WSJ story