UnitedHealth to Keep Some Health Reforms from Affordable Care Act

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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Image Credit: Paul Barker, Stock.Xchng


Sharon H.
Sharon H5 years ago

I just got United Health supplement to Medicare this year and I have MANY pre-existing conditions. I was never asked about them. I filled out a very short form and that was that. I've used them for my prescriptions and at the Heart Failure Clinic when I had an appointment back in January.. I have another appointment there this month and will give my card again. I have a low co-payment and they and Medicare take care of the rest. I can only speak from personal experience, but I hope it helped. I got it through AARP.

Steve R.
Steve R5 years ago

Perhaps UnitedHealth knows something we don't - yet!

And it's perfectly entitled to offer those things WITHOUT the "Unaffordable Health Care Act".

Of course - would YOU trust UnitedHealth? Bet you a dollar there's an extra dollar or two in there somewhere - FOR UnitedHealth!

Robert Irons
Robert Irons5 years ago

More proof that the Repeal effort is so Partisan, that they would rather stop their children's benefits than lose!

Alisha Walker
.5 years ago

My ex bf worked for united healthcare for 7 years. I don't believe any of the lies they tell. This is nothing but a brilliant PR strategy they will use to try to avoid new legislation if the healthcare bill is overturned. They'll say "see, look - you don't need to regulate us!" but when we look away, they will take these things away again. This is the same company that owns UNC med's research department and all discoveries and inventions they create, under the guise of a "charitable donation".

Jenn C.
Jenn C5 years ago

Health care reform would also include stopping the exclusion of vital healthcare services as 'optional'. Did you know that vision, dental, chiropractic, and other services are considered optional? Basically that means that the Federal government *doesn't care* if we go blind and can't do our work (lack of exams or glasses), if we get tooth infections or lose our teeth due to lack of basic care (twice yearly exams, cleanings, and basic cavity repairs), or if we're bent double in pain, maybe even unable to leave our beds, due to back pain. They will cover highly invasive and expensive permanent bariatric surgery but not the cheaper lap band methods that have fewer side effects (not to mention that a person has to be 200 lbs overweight instead of a more reasonable - but still deadly - 100 lbs overweight based on BMI charts).

ALL of these physical issues are LEGITIMATE medical needs that should be covered on a parity basis with all other medical care. There is simply TOO much wrong to be covered here, but these are a beginning, and things you're most likely to see.

Harriet Bickel
Harriet Bickel5 years ago

The answer for Health Care, no one can ever get sick, but you must always pay your insurance premium, 66 Billion a year to one organization.

Health care should be part of the Right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, how can the right to life not include health care, and since our constitution guarantees the right to Life, how can they not guarantee the right to care that will make life possible?

This country needs a true non-profit based one pay system for health care. As long as the Insurance Companies are collecting huge premiums, they will always be profit driven.

Deborah Vitek
Deborah Vitek5 years ago

There is no "health care reform" If there were, there would be no insurance companies at all, but national health care. The U.S. is so constipated in it's thinking that they are willing to have people die without care rather than have something "socialist". It is a deep rooted problem that is part of the fabric of the absolutely crazy, every person for themselves mentality that pervades the U.S. I know, I grew up there and all of my family is there. When we were going bankrupt because our insurance would not cover ANYTHING related to my husband's chronic progressive M.S. (they covered nothing because there was no "cure", was their reason) my family had no sympathy and blamed it on our "poor planning"! That is why the U.S. is basically a country that is doomed because the people cannot pull themselves out of the propaganda. Very, very sad.

Robert Ludwig
Robert Ludwig5 years ago

Health-care in the United States - all of Health-care - is a massive price fixing scheme designed to drive people into insurance. If it were any other time and any other industry, they would be charged under the RICO statutes.

Nothing would make me happier than to see the entire health insurance industry added to the unemployment statistics.

Cathryn C.
Cathryn C5 years ago

It would be wonderful if all health insurance companies did this, but they won't..it cuts into profits.. However if one of the leading Insurance companies is standing FOR these provisions in the AFHCA..then..Perhaps the GoP had better step back and stand down..and stop fighting it. Frankly..when a major mover in an industry says it's good it only makes you look bad if you go against helping people.

Alex H.
Alex H5 years ago

I am amazed at the US government's attitude towards its working poor and deprived people who can''t afford healthcare,something which should be a HUMAN RIGHT!I recently saw the example of a construction worker who had a family,was only earning $100 per week (surely not?!),had a serious hernia which needed immediate operation otherwise he could get gangrene and die,but the cost of an operation was $20000!He didn't have health cover,he and his wife looked shattered,it was heartbreaking so what did they do?They went home and he is doomed?!How can this situation occur in a country like the USA?It's disgusting,deplorable and absolutely unacceptable,and to all those ignorant,selfish people and vested interests fighting a universal healthcare scheme,I say,where is your compassion and humanity?