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Small Business Employee Benefits and HR Blog

Answering some old questions (sort of)

health care reform quesitonsA while back I set out to try to verify three things I've heard about the new reform proposal. Well, this post is kind of a cop-out.  Since my original post, it's become clear that the bill I was researching has no chance of actually being passed into law.  

With that in mind, I have still paid attention to the same issues, but it's not really important what that ancient bill from a couple of weeks ago says.  To avoid completely backing out of my goal to investigate the three questions, I'm going to re-address them using pure speculation based on what I've been hearing.  If you follow healthcare reform closely, speculation should be nothing new for you.

So here are the questions:

I've heard people say that there is some super obscure language that basically makes private insurance illegal. I have a hard time believing these claims, so I want to check it out.
While it seems like there was a weird line in the bill that might have been interpreted this way, it was clearly not the intention of whoever wrote that.  Private insurance will absolutely exist in some way, although it might exist in a world of heavy regulation and competition with a government plan.

People are saying that in order for insurance to satisfy the minimum requirements, it would need to cover maternity, preventive care, and doctor visits. I defended this requirement earlier, but I might be eating my words if this is true.
I checked and the bill really did say something to this effect, but it was vague enough that it shouldn't matter.  For example, an insurance plan might cover maternity with a $10,000 deductible and still qualify.  Either way, this issue is on hold until both sides figure out if insurance will be required at all.

I'm still not sure if private carriers will be able to use medical underwriting. That's a pretty important thing to know.

This is the most interesting of the three questions.  It seems like there actually is a pretty good chance that medical underwriting will be a thing of the past, but that's far from settled.  I'll write a post on what this might mean, but if carriers must accept all applicants and charge them all the same amount, that could have a very dramatic effect on how the market responds to this reform.
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