UnitedHealth Pledges To Keep Reform Provisions Even If Supreme Court Says It Doesn’t Have To

The Supreme Court may end up overturning some of the consumer-focused provisions in the Affordable Care Act, but UnitedHealth, the nation’s largest insurer, says even if that happens, it’ll stick to the changes.

Some of those provisions include providing certain preventive health care services without co-pays, coverage for children up to age 26 and eliminating lifetime benefit caps. UnitedHealth also said it won’t drop consumers if they get sick, reports Reuters.

However, it didn’t say whether it will provide coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions, ensure consumers aren’t 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.

Our cousins at the Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports, said that the announcement is a good sign, but doesn’t get to heart of the critical elements of consumer protection.

Said DeAnn Friedholm, director of health reform for Consumers Union:

“This is an encouraging first step in continuing consumer protections in healthcare and we hope that other insurers will move in this direction. 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.”

The Supreme Court is expected to decide later this month if it will strike down portions of the 2010 law, or all of it.

UnitedHealth to keep reforms, whatever court decides [Reuters]