Introduction: I have signed up to receive updates from the local Congresswoman Anna Eshoo. Today, she forwarded me this set of rights, billed as, so to speak, "The Healthcare bill of rights". I thought it is fairly important for anyone involved in healthcare to go through them, so I am going to share them with you.
Oh, and these are the rights that the Republicans and the Tea Party would like to repeal, just so you know.
* Your health coverage cannot be arbitrarily cancelled.
The new law prohibits insurance plans from rescinding your coverage when you get sick, except in cases of fraud or an intentional misrepresentation of facts. (Applies to all insurance plans.)
* Your child cannot be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition.
Insurance plans are prohibited from both denying coverage and limiting benefits for children based on a pre-existing condition. This applies to all employer plans and new individual plans.
* Your health plan cannot put a lifetime limit on your health coverage.
The new law outlaws lifetime limits. No longer will a family go broke or lose their home just because a loved one has an accident or becomes ill. This applies to all insurance plans.
* Your health plan’s annual limits will phase out.
Over the next three years, the new law phases out annual limits ensuring that the coverage of hundreds of thousands of Americans will no longer be cut off right when they need it most. This applies to all employer plans and new individual plans.
* Your child can stay on your health plan up to age 26.
Insurance plans that offer family coverage will be required to allow young people up to their 26th birthday to remain on their parents’ insurance plan, at the parent’s choice. This applies to young people who do not have access to their own employer-sponsored coverage.
* You have the right to choose your own doctor.
Patients are guaranteed their choice of primary care doctor within their plan’s network of doctors, including OB-GYNs and pediatricians without a referral. This applies to new plans.
* You have the right to access out-of-network emergency room care.
Insurance plans will not be able to charge higher cost-sharing for emergency services that are obtained outside of a plan’s network. This applies to new plans.
* You have the right to appeal denied coverage.
Insurance companies are prohibited from denying coverage for needed care without a chance to appeal to an independent third party. This applies to new plans.
Commentary: Essentially, I think this is a good set of rights and a good start. It will help coverage, and increase revenues for medical device companies, regardless of what Advamed would like to have you believe. In the long run, this will serve as a model of comparison for developing nations trying to implement healthcare reform.
Of course, post elections we will see some cheesy attempts to repeal the law, more display of testosterone and so on...until next time!