Stupak Announces New Health Care Consumer Protections Effective Today
U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak announced that several important consumer protection features of health care reform go into effect today. These provisions, known as the Patient's Bill of Rights, put an end to many nefarious insurance company practices and give Americans increased control over their health care. The protections implemented today come six months after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law.
"With these new reforms, northern Michigan residents will no longer need to fear of having their health care rescinded if they get sick or a child's coverage being denied based on a pre-existing condition," said Stupak. "For far too long, the insurance industry has lined their pockets with record profits while denying Americans health benefits under their insurance policy. The provisions instituted today look to reverse that trend and provide consumers with the vital protections they need from insurance industry practices."
As of September 23rd, all privately-insured Americans will benefit from the following reforms:
* Coverage cannot be taken away if you become sick.
* Children with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied coverage.
* Children can stay on their parents' health insurance up to the age of 26.
* Insurance companies cannot place a lifetime limit on coverage.
* Health plans' annual limits are phased out over three years.
Also, as of September 23rd, Americans purchasing health insurance coverage will have the following protections:
* Patients have the right to choose their own doctor.
* Preventive services such as mammograms and colonoscopies will be provided without deductibles or co-payments.
* Patients will now have the right to both an internal and external appeal of insurers' decisions when coverage or benefit is denied.
* Consumers will have access to the closest emergency room care even if the closest emergency room is not in their health insurance network.
"The Patient's Bill of Rights will end some of the worst health insurance company abuses and put northern Michigan residents back in the driver's seat when it comes to their health care," said Stupak. "While there is still work to be done to improve our health care system, the reforms implemented today are a major step forward in giving Americans control over their own health care."