Congressional Dems filing bill requiring coverage of pre-existing conditions

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) plan to file a bill that would require health plans to cover the more than 133 million Americans suffering from chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

Right now, health plans estimate that they currently spend about $2.2 billion per year--or more than 75 percent of all moneys spent on healthcare--to treat patients with multiple chronic conditions. The legislators contend that by insuring everyone, that number would deflate somewhat. (In theory, one would guess that by spreading the risk to this broader population, it could help health plans cope with costs.)

The issue of covering people with pre-existing conditions has gotten a higher profile of late, particularly with California health plans facing legal troubles over excluding or dropping patients with serious health problems. The scuffle over this issue prompted the health insurance industry's leading group to concede that they'd consider waiving pre-existing conditions as a bar to coverage, as long as everyone ends up being covered. Still, that doesn't mean this bill will fly. (My guess--the measure's still a long shot anyway.)

To find out more about the bill:
- read this Modern Healthcare piece (reg. req.)

Related Articles:
AHIP conditionally endorses coverage for pre-existing conditions
Bill may narrow health plan coverage exclusions
Many online health shoppers 'uninsurable'
WellPoint pays hospitals $11.8M to settle bills from rescissions

Suggested Articles

The profit margins and management of Community Health Group raise questions about oversight of managed care insurers.

Financial experts are warning practices about the pitfalls of promoting medical credit cards to their patients.

A proposed rule issued by HHS on Tuesday would expand short-term coverage, a move Seema Verma said will have "virtually no impact" on ACA premiums.