Posted: 06/12/12 05:17, Edited: 06/12/12 05:17
by Dave Mindeman
United Health has decided that at least parts of the Affordable Care Act are good for everybody. UNH has decided to cover the backs of the GOP and "voluntarily" add some of the benefit provisions.
Minnetonka-based UnitedHealthcare said it will allow young adults to stay on their parents' plan until they turn 26 and continue to provide preventive care, such as immunizations and cancer screenings, without co-payments.
The insurer also said it won't cancel policies retroactively, except in cases of fraud, and won't impose lifetime limits on coverage. Such limits can cause hardship for those with expensive chronic illnesses and rare diseases.
In the past, UNH fought those reforms, but now after having them mandated, they suddenly realize they are good for the bottom line as well. Immunizations and screenings have been a basic part of the preventive care idea for years, but insurance companies never could quite get the idea that paying now might prevent bigger payouts later.
The other public relations move here is these particular parts of the benefit package won't cost them a lot extra.....still, they have not given us the information as to how this will affect premiums. Might be just another good excuse to keep the rates jacked up.
What they still will refuse to do, and this has been a key component of the ACA, is that they will not allow pre-existing conditions to be covered. And the reason why?????
United said it "recognizes the value" of covering children with pre-existing conditions but said one company can't act alone. Because treating childhood illnesses can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and more, especially if they last for decades, United needs some buy-in from other insurers so that it isn't the only company covering such cases, Heupel said.
In other words, they would need to have that coverage "mandated" to make it fair to all insurers. Imagine that -- a mandate. Haven't we figured out yet that in order for this to work for all Americans, then all of us have to be included. It is the only way to spread the costs across the consumer base.
These key provisions which UNH says it is going to continue, even if the ACA gets struck down by the Supreme Court, underscores the value of the law in the first place. These are popular provisions. Provisions that the health care companies can no longer ignore or devalue.
This development also underscores how important single payer is as a tool to really and truly reduce the cost of health care in America. These middle management players were forced to accept these provisions by Federal mandate.....they refuse to work with ideas that not only are good for the American people, but for their own best interests as well.
Health insurers will win no matter what happens in the Supreme Court. The PR games are just beginning.