Dems Call On Health Insurers To Stop Dropping Sick Customers

Democratic representatives are calling on America’s health insurance companies to adopt more of the new consumer protections contained in the health care reform law ahead of schedule. Following the decision by several insurers to voluntarily adopt legally required coverage for children on their parents’ insurance up to age 26, Democrats are hoping the industry will go one step further and end the practice of revoking medical coverage when a policy holder gets sick.

In a letter obtained by TPMDC, the committee chairs and subcommittee chairs of the three house committees dealing with health reform are calling on seven big insurance companies — WellPoint, Kaiser Permanente, Assurant, United Health, Humana, Blue Cross and Aetna — to take the step to keep sick people insured on their own.

“These rescissions hurt patients who need coverage the most, such as women diagnosed with breast cancer,” the letter reads. “We are writing to ask all of your companies to end any such abusive practices immediately.”The group of Democrats calls on insurers to create a third party board that would review all recissions for evidence of “fraud or material misrepresentation” on the part of the insurance. If the evidence is not there, the recission would be denied.

“Taking these actions would be consistent with your decision to implement consumer protections for individuals under 26 voluntarily,” the letter reads. “And would further demonstrate a commitment to reliable coverage for your policyholders.”

The letter is signed by House Ways and Means Chair Sander Levin (D-MI), House Energy and Commerce Chair Henry A. Waxman (D-CA), House Education and Labor Chair George Miller (D-CA), House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chair Pete Stark (D-CA), House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ), House Energy and Commerce Oversight Subcommittee Chair Bart Stupak (D-MI), House Energy and Commerce Chairman Emeritus John D. Dingell (D-MI), and House Education and Labor Health Subcommittee Chair Robert Andrews (D-NJ).

Read the whole letter here.