Whether or not health care reform is struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, some of its reforms will be continued by UnitedHealth Group.
Dependents will be able to stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26, preventative health care will be covered without co-payments, and lifetime limits will be eliminated, according to a statement by UnitedHealth CEO Stephen Hemsley.
UnitedHealth also said that they would maintain the streamlined appeals process required under the Affordable Care Act, and would not drop sick policyholders unless they had lied on their applications.
“The protections we are voluntarily extending are good for people’s health, promote broader access to quality care and contribute to helping control rising health care costs,” Hemsley said. “These provisions make sense for the people we serve, and it is important to ensure they know these rovisions will continue. These provisions are compatible with our mission and continue our operating practices.”
UnitedHealth did not indicate whether they would still enroll new patients regardless of pre-existing conditions, but that seems doubtful; insurance companies have been adamant that they cannot afford to enroll patients with pre-existing conditions unless some sort of health care mandate exists.
The move could lessen pressure on Republicans if the 2010 health care reform law is overturned by the Supreme Court. Republicans have been increasingly concerned that a court victory could end up eliminating some popular provisions of health care reform right before a close election.
If other health care companies follow the lead of UnitedHealth and retain some popular provisions voluntarily, it will make it easier for Republicans to do nothing in the wake of health care reform being struck down.
UnitedHealth Group, based in Minnetonka, Minnesota, is the nation’s largest health insurer. In 2007, UnitedHealth collected over $66 billion in direct premiums.
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