A final mandate was
issued by The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with five
rules applicable for consumer protection under the Affordable Care Act, to make
the health insurance market work better for individuals, groups, small families
and small businesses.
"Because of the
Affordable Care Act, being denied affordable health coverage due to medical
conditions will be a thing of the past for every American," said HHS secretary
Kathleen Sebelius. "Being sick will no longer keep you, your family, or your
employees from being able to get affordable health coverage."
With these reforms all individuals and employers can buy
health cover irrespective of health status. Insurers will be bound to charge
rates without discrimination towards gender or health. Young adults will have
affordable cover under catastrophic plans.
All insurers will now
offer individuals or employers health cover without being able to refuse anyone
due to previous or ongoing illness.
The premiums offered
to individuals and small employers will only vary due to age, use of tobacco,
family size or geography, no other factors like gender, past insurance claims,
size of the employer or health issues will count.
An individual or
employer can renew their cover even after illness, as insurance companies can
no longer refuse to renew health cover.
Insurance companies can
no longer charge high premiums to high cost consumers or move them into a
separate risk pool. They are required to maintain a single state wide risk pool
for individuals and a state-wide risk pool for the small group market.
Young adults and
people for whom insurance cover would otherwise be unaffordable will now have
access to a catastrophic plan in the individual market. Catastrophic plans
normallyhave lower premiums and protect against high out-of-pocket costs.
The HHS has increased
transparency in the new program by directing all insurance companies to report
any rate increase requests. References:
Hannah Punitha (IRDA Licence Number: 2710062)
Redwood Times, Feb 2013