UnitedHealthcare, Aetna, Humana to uphold reform provisions

UnitedHealthcare is leading an industry-driven effort to uphold some health reform provisions, regardless of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on the law's constitutionality later this month. After the country's biggest insurer made its announcement Monday, Aetna and Humana followed suit later that day.

In separate announcements, UnitedHealthcare, Aetna and Humana vowed to preserve some of the law's most popular provisions that have already taken effect. Included in their pledges are allowing young adults to remain on their parents' health plans, covering preventive services like cancer screenings and maintaining a simpler, independent appeals process for claims denials, according to The Washington Post.

Additionally, UnitedHealthcare and Humana said they won't reinstate lifetime limits on coverage or rescission policies, but Aetna didn't address this provision.

UnitedHealthcare added that it hopes to cover children with pre-existing medical conditions, which the reform law requires, but it can't take on that risk unless other insurers share in the cost, The New York Times reported.

"The protections we are voluntarily extending are good for people's health, promote broader access to quality care and contribute to helping control rising healthcare costs," UnitedHealthcare CEO Stephen Hemsley said in a statement. "These provisions make sense for the people we serve, and it is important to ensure they know these provisions will continue."

The insurers "want to send a strong message to their customers that their coverage, the benefits their customers have today, will remain in effect, regardless of how the court rules," Mike Tuffin, who served as executive vice president at America's Health Insurance Plans while the law was negotiated, told Bloomberg. "One way or another, some of these pieces will either be reinstituted or remain in effect through the actions of the private marketplace."

Meanwhile, Blue Shield of California, Cigna and WellPoint said they will wait to announce their coverage plans after the court issues its ruling, Kaiser Health News reported.

To learn more:
- read the Washington Post article
- see the New York Times article
- check out the Kaiser Health News article
- read the Bloomberg article
- see the statements from UnitedHealthcare and Humana