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UnitedHealth keeps consumer-friendly provisions

June 11, 2012

UnitedHealth to Keep Consumer-Friendly Health Reform Provisions: Consumers Union Statement

WASHINGTON, DC – UnitedHealth announced today that it will continue to provide some consumer-focused provisions required by the Affordable Care Act, even if the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision overturns the entire law. The nation’s largest insurer will continue to provide some preventive healthcare services without co-pays, continue coverage for children up to age 26, eliminate lifetime benefit caps, and will not drop consumers in the event that they get sick.
However, the company did not address plans to provide coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions, ensure that consumers are not discriminated against due to gender or health condition, or continue plans to follow the more rigorous Medical Loss Ratio rule requiring insurers spend at least 80% of premium dollars on actual medical care.
Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports, said that the move was encouraging but doesn’t tackle critical elements of consumer protection.
“This is an encouraging first step in continuing consumer protections in healthcare and we hope that other insurers will move in this direction,” said DeAnn Friedholm, director of health reform for Consumers Union. “However, this is a very small step. Key consumer protections like guaranteed coverage for pre-existing conditions and ensuring that people aren’t charged differently because of their gender or health condition are essential to providing quality, affordable healthcare. But the fact is that these important protections cannot be tackled by one insurer. This is why we need the level playing field that the healthcare law provides – to ensure that these protections are kept in place for everyone.”