In countering health reform, insurers show its need…

It’s outrageous that insurers are threatening to not sell coverage to children.

As reported by Duke Helfand at the Los Angeles Times, as well by Christina Jewett of California Watch and several TV stations, some insurance companies have said they won’t sell child-only policies in the individual market.

Anthem Blue Cross, Aetna and other insurers are holding children hostage in their attempts to weaken new federal patient protections. Some insurers would rather deny coverage to all children than have to cover some that happen to have pre-existing conditions.

That’s why we need Governor Schwarzenegger to sign pending legislation to counter these anti-child decisions by insurers. AB2244 would bar insurers from the lucrative individual insurance market who seek to discriminate by denying children coverage. The Governor has the bill on his desk to fix this problem, and bring the insurers back in line.

These decisions by some health insurers show the need for the new federal law and for additional oversight. Insurers need to move away from a business model focused on avoiding and denying those who need care, and to one where they compete on cost, quality, prevention, and efficiency.

AB2244, by Assemblyman Feuer and sponsored by Health Access California, would conform state law to the new federal requirement that insurers not deny children for pre-existing conditions. It would also limit the premiums paid by children with pre-existing conditions from being more than twice what other children pay for the same health policy, if they sign up within an annual open enrollment period. Finally, if an insurer decides not to sell child-specific insurance, that insurer would be barred from selling new plans in the individual market for five years.

An analysis of AB 2244 states that the bill could save the state millions of dollars, as kids currently covered by public insurance move to the private insurance market.

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.

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