Consumer Group Hails Historic New Patient’s Bill of Rights

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (US PIRG) issued the following news release on Patient’s Bill of Rights.

Going through the new rules, they look like  a major advance for health insurance consumers. They will curb some of the worst insurance industry practices that are denying consumers the control they need over their own health care choices

The rules will apply the following protections to all new plans and many existing plans, effective September 23rd of this year:

– The right to coverage that covers your children, even if they have a pre-existing health condition. The right to coverage that cannot be dropped when an unexpected condition or accident makes your care expensive.

– The right to benefits that do not run out due to a lifetime or annual cap on payment from your insurance company.

– The right to choose the primary care doctor you want and to see them without referrals, even if they are pediatricians or OB/GYNs.

– The right to seek needed emergency room care without running afoul of out-of-network restrictions that can leave you with massive ER bills.

Earlier administration rule-making mandated that insurers devote 80-85% of premiums directly to care and required health insurance plans to cover their enrollees’ children up to age 26.

U.S. PIRG is still pushing for additional strong action to implement the federal care law. Their recent report, Delivering on the Promise: A State Guide to the Next Steps for Health Reform, lays out the policies needed to ensure that, over the next few years, the new federal health care law succeeds at lowering costs and providing some basic security for families and small businesses.

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