Letter to Angela Braly, CEO Well Point Inc; George Halvorson, Ceo Kasier Permanente; Don Hamm, Assurant Health; Stepthen Hemsleym CEO UnitedHealth Group Inc; Michael McCallister. CEO Humana Inc; Schott Serota, CEO Blue Cross Bluee Shield Association; Ronald Williams, Aetna Inc.
Stark, Other House Committee Chairs Ask Insurers To Ban Rescissions Ahead Of Health Reform Implementation
Committee and Subcommittee Chairs from the House Committees on Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and Labor today sent a letter to the CEOs of seven insurance companies, most who whom last week announced they were allowing individuals up to age 26 to get coverage through their parents' health insurance, ahead of health reform legislation taking effect.
The letter urges the firms to end the practice of rescissions -- terminating an individual's coverage once he or she becomes sick -- except in cases of fraud or material misrepresentation. The letter also asks that these insurers institute independent third-party review whenever a policy is to be rescinded or canceled.
The letter was 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).
Dear Madam and Sirs:
Last week, most of your companies announced plans to allow individuals up to age 26 to obtain coverage through their parents' health insurance, helping many bridge the gap between graduation and the effective date of this requirement. Your actions signal that you are willing to work to make health insurance more accessible and affordable. We commend you for this step.
Also last week, Secretary Sebelius, reacting to recent media reports, wrote to Ms. Braly asking that WellPoint immediately end its efforts to rescind health insurance coverage except in cases of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of material fact. These rescissions hurt patients who need coverage the most, such as women diagnosed with breast cancer. We are writing to ask all of your companies to end any such abusive practices immediately.
In addition, to ensure that rescissions occur only in cases of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of material fact, we request that each of your companies immediately institute a policy of independent, external third party review. Under such a procedure, no individual health insurance policy should be rescinded until the review confirms that fraud or material misrepresentation has in fact occurred.
Taking these actions would be consistent with your earlier decision to implement consumer protection for individuals under 26 voluntarily and would further demonstrate a commitment to reliable coverage for your policyholders.