April 1, 2010
Health Care Insurers Agree to Cover Children With Preexisting Conditions
Insurance companies say they will comply with rules laid out in the White House’s recently passed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which stipulates that children and teens younger than 19 may not be denied health insurance if they have a preexisting medical condition, The New York Times reports. Preexisting conditions can include cancer, diabetes and HIV/AIDS.
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has put pressure on companies to not deny coverage. Advocates and lawmakers feared that some insurers might exploit ambiguity in the language of the law to deny children coverage when the provision goes into effect in September. The law does not explicitly say that insurers must sell insurance to families with children younger than 19, but White House officials and Democratic congressional leaders have affirmed that was their intent.
“Health plans recognize the significant hardship that a family faces when they are unable to obtain coverage for a child with a preexisting condition,” said Karen M. Ignagni, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group. She added, “We await and will fully comply with” the rules.
Sebelius said she was pleased that “insurance companies plan to do the right thing.”
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