The Obama administration has released new regulations that would make it illegal for insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.
“The Affordable Care Act is building a health insurance market that works for consumers,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. “Thanks to the health care law, no one will be discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition.”
The administration on Tuesday also released details on “essential benefits” and employer-based wellness programs.
The new rules are one of the first steps the Health and Human Services Department has taken in implementing some major provisions that are set to begin in 2014. The pre-existing provision is one of the most popular parts of President Obama’s Patient and Protection Affordable Care Act.
The Obama administration issued the following information:
• A proposed rule that, beginning in 2014, prohibits health insurance companies from discriminating against individuals because of a pre-existing or chronic condition. Under the rule, insurance companies would be allowed to vary premiums within limits, only based on age, tobacco use, family size, and geography. Health insurance companies would be prohibited from denying coverage to any American because of a pre-existing condition or from charging higher premiums to certain enrollees because of their current or past health problems, gender, occupation, and small employer size or industry. The rule would ensure that people for whom coverage would otherwise be unaffordable, and young adults, have access to a catastrophic coverage plan in the individual market.
• A proposed rule outlining policies and standards for coverage of essential health benefits, while giving states more flexibility to implement the Affordable Care Act. Essential health benefits are a core set of benefits that would give consumers a consistent way to compare health plans in the individual and small group markets. A companion letter on the flexibility in implementing the essential health benefits in Medicaid was also sent to states.
• A proposed rule implementing and expanding employment-based wellness programs to promote health and help control health care spending, while ensuring that individuals are protected from unfair underwriting practices that could otherwise reduce benefits based on health status.
This article was originally posted at BenefitsPro.com, a sister site of Credit Union Times.