KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Insurers Comply With New Coverage Rules For Sick Children

Early Tuesday, insurers agreed to new rules for covering sick children, including a ban that will take effect in September on "pre-existing condition exclusions" for children younger than 19.

The New York Times: "Under pressure from the White House, health insurance companies said Tuesday that they would comply with rules to be issued soon by the Obama administration requiring them to cover children with pre-existing medical problems." Karen M. Ignagni, president of America's Health Insurance Plans, a trade group, "made the commitment in a letter to Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, who had said she feared that some insurers might exploit a possible ambiguity in the new health care law to deny coverage to some sick children. ... It was not immediately clear whether the rules would allow insurers to charge higher premiums to families with children with pre-existing conditions. Administration officials said they would be monitoring any rate increases. ... Insurers said they would accept the administration's reading of the law, even if they did not fully agree with it, because they wanted to avoid a showdown over the politically explosive issue of health insurance for sick children" (Pear, 3/30).

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