Officials’ Plan To Enforce Rescission Ban Still Unclear
WellPoint, UnitedHealth and other major insurers have said they will end the practice of terminating policies when policyholder become sick except in cases of fraud, earlier than the September deadline the health overhaul set, Reuters reports. But, it may be difficult for government officials to enforce the new prohibition on rescission, as the practice is called.
"Previously, in some states an insurer could have canceled a policy by proving someone made a mistake when applying for coverage -- even a nonintentional one, a senior health official in the Obama administration told Reuters." The federal health department will have to draft guidelines for enforcing the change, but their approach or timeline are not clear. "HHS's regulations, however, won't tell states how to enforce the ban, the administration official said. Federal officials can also help step in when needed, the official added" (Heavey and Krauskopf, 4/30).
Earlier today, The Washington Post reported that "[a]fter being criticized as obstructionists during the long health-care debate, insurance companies" -- including WellPoint -- "now are implementing some popular provisions even sooner than the law demands." The decision regarding rescissions is one such example (Hilzenrath, 4/30).