KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

S.D. Allows Insurers To Deny Some Kids Coverage, Mo. Still Won’t Start Health Exchange

South Dakota is allowing insurers to deny children insurance coverage if they don't enroll during open enrollment, a possible violation of the health law. In Missouri, flexibility won't persuade the state to set up a health insurance exchange.

Politico Pro: S.D. Restricts Coverage, HHS Looks Other Way
The state is South Dakota, and the provision is a small but popular one -- a ban on insurers denying coverage for kids because of their health status or excluding coverage for pre-existing conditions. The fact that HHS hasn't done anything about it has some consumer advocates worried about how it will affect states that flout the law after more health care reform provisions take effect in 2014. "When the state responds to the needs of their market by undermining a provision that is as central to the Affordable Care Act as ending health discrimination against children, then people should sit up and take notice," said Sabrina Corlette, a National Association of Insurance Commissioners consumer representative. ... In September 2010, the South Dakota Department of Insurance issued regulations that allow insurers to continue denying coverage to children under 19 or excluding coverage for their pre-existing conditions if the policies are sold outside an open-enrollment period where insurers must cover all comers (Feder, 3/14).

St. Louis Beacon: Federal Flexibility Won't Persuade Missouri To Set Up Insurance Exchange System, Rupp Says 
Missouri will take no immediate steps to establish an insurance exchange in spite of the federal offer to give states more flexibility in setting up this key part of the health-reform law, a key state senator said Monday. ... "The federal government has always pushed back all these supposedly hard deadlines," [Sen. Scott Rupp, R-Wentzville] says. "So that threat of you have to have it done by this date has pretty much fallen on deaf ears" (Joiner, 3/13). 

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