Individual Health Insurance Effects

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as the health reform bill will impact almost every American. One of the most important ways it will affect individual health insurance is that insurance companies will not be permitted to deny insurance to those with preexisting illnesses. Another important affect is that all Americans will be required to hold insurance. Insurance companies will be prohibited from placing annual and lifetime limits on coverage. Group health exchanges may also help to reduce the cost of insurance plans, giving individuals the buying power of large companies. You will be able to purchase insurance through a state exchange from 2014. The exchanges have yet to be formed, but the intended goal is to provide more affordable and subsidized individual plans. The Obama effects on individual health insurance addresses the biggest weaknesses in the individual health insurance market. Easy To Insure Me

As the reform bill was passed policy rates were climbing. A report revealed that members of the middle class were losing health insurance faster than any other income group. Those who missed the Government provided safety net because of their income were thrown on the mercies of the individual market. Here, insurers have been denied coverage based on preexisting conditions and are vulnerable to charges of high and ever increasing premiums.

The limits insurers placed on who gets coverage is one of the three major problems that needed to be addressed in the individual market. The other two are the affordability and whether the policy would pay for what is needed when the insured gets sick. A study found that excluded conditions varied by insurer. In a 2001 study by the Georgetown Health Policy Institute, researchers 37 percent of applications were rejected. There were insurers who would turn you down if you had hay fever. The public thus was a victim of a roulette insurance market. How easy is it for individuals to wade their way through the market to insurers who would cover them is a question. Although federal law requires insurers to sell policies to certain people who lose group coverage, including those who lost their jobs due to lay offs; but places no limits on what an insurer can charge. In February 2010, Connecticut announced that health premiums for individual medical plans rose in price by 20 percent over in 2009. In this void have stepped some states in varying degrees. Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Vermont required insurers to sell individual policies to everyone, irrespective of their health. Washington state required insurers to take individuals with some health problems. While, Iowa required insurers to cover preexisting conditions in new applicants, if they had insurance previously for those conditions and did not let the insurance lapse.

Of those who do buy their own insurance the health insurance market works well for some; but, not for others. In the individual market prior to the reform bill, in order to lower their risks insurers preferred the healthiest applicants. In most states, insurers may consider the health history of the applicant in deciding coverage and its cost. Unlike group plans offered by employers which provide coverage to everyone, there is no guarantee in most states individuals can obtain insurance. It has been realized that solving problems in the individual market would improve the health care crisis. In California, Connecticut and several other states regulators have taken actions against insurers who revoked individual coverage after policyholders fell ill. Before the President won the election Senators Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, and Bob Bennett, a Republican from Utah were supporting a bill that would shift workers getting coverage through employers to purchase their own insurance. The intention of their proposal was to break the link between employment and insurance. The two supporters of the bill believed this would let people keep their coverage even when they lost or switched their job. The proposal would have required everyone to have coverage and insurers to sell insurance to all applicants. The health reform bill has addressed these failings. Both presidential candidates had expressed the desire to improve options for people who buy their own coverage. Candidate Obama wanted to allow individuals and small firms to have the bargaining leverage and purchasing power of latge firms by creating ways for individuals to buy insurance in groups. Advisors to candidate McCain had acknowledged the current system was broken. Douglas Holtz Eakin, who was a senior policy adviser noted that he did not want to give the impression the individual or small group market is a good place to be, as it was not

The public hospitals have been at the vanguard of the victims of inadequate and absent coverage. They have provided for the uninsured and those under insured by

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