RALEIGH — Lowering your monthly health care insurance premium sounds pretty good. But what if your new coverage doesn’t cover preexisting conditions, caps your coverage or charges you more because your older or work in an occupation that requires physical activity? What if the company or association you bought your policy from is no longer solvent and can’t pay your claim?
Under a new plan being rushed through the North Carolina General Assembly, some ugly problems with the health insurance market are bound to resurface.
HB 933 that would allow new “health providers” to avoid state oversight and circumvent federal rules, allowing insurers, associations, and other groups to sell policies that discriminate based on age, health conditions or even your occupation. The policies are often referred to as “skinny plans.” But patient and consumer advocates call them by a more appropriate name, “junk insurance.” These plans will also lead to increased costs for employer-sponsored plans.
The newly added section to an unrelated bill undermines critical protections for those with pre-existing conditions by destabilizing the individual insurance market and increasing premiums for older adults, people with chronic conditions and other ongoing health care needs.
In addition to age and health status, other groups can be singled out and charged more based on occupation and other factors. And at a time when the state is struggling with the opioid crisis, policymakers need to know that before the Affordable Care Act, individual health plans routinely denied coverage for substance abuse counseling and behavioral and mental health services.
Let’s not rush a bill through the process that will leave too many North Carolinians without the comprehensive coverage they need. When it comes to our healthcare coverage, we need stable, reliable and dependable coverage that has adequate oversight by insurance regulators.
The post Don’t Be Fooled by the Illusion of Skinny Health Plans appeared first on AARP States.
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