Under The Radar … thinkprogress.org … must read info


HEALTH CARE — HEALTH INSURERS WILL FOLLOW NEW REGULATIONS MEANT TO CLOSE LOOPHOLE ON INSURING CHILDREN: Despite trying to take advantage of loopholes in the new health care law that may allow insurers to deny coverage to uninsured children with pre-existing medical conditions, health insurers said Monday that they would accept new regulations that dispel any uncertainty that “children with medical problems can get coverage starting this year.” Insurers had previously said that the new law “does not require them to write insurance for the child and it does not guarantee the ‘availability of coverage’ for all until 2014,” when the majority of law’s provisions come into effect. In a harshly-worded letter, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius criticized insurers for seeking loopholes “that preserve a broken system” and do not “follow the spirit of the law.” To clarify the intent of the law, Sebelius will issue regulations “making it clear that the term ‘pre-existing exclusion’ applies to both a child’s access to a plan and to his or her benefits once he or she is in the plan.” The health insurance industry’s announcement appears to lessen the risk that new regulations will be challenged under the so-called Chevron test, which was named for a Supreme Court decision that found that federal agencies hold broad authority in interpreting statues as long as that interpretation is found to be reasonable. But at the same time, the decision was expected because as the Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky noted, the insurers will “simply increase premiums as a result.”

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