In a statement released Monday, health insurer UnitedHealth Group announced that it will continue to offer some of the federal health reform law's popular provisions regardless of how the Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of the law, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The high court is poised to issue its decision within the next few weeks (Terhune, Los Angeles Times, 6/11).
Among the consumer-friendly provisions that UnitedHealth will maintain are those:
- Allowing young adults to stay on their parents' health plans until age 26.
- Providing certain preventive health care services without requiring a copayment, such as annual physicals, colonoscopies, screenings for high blood pressure and diabetes and immunizations.
- Eliminating lifetime dollar coverage limits on policies.
UnitedHealth, which serves more than 38 million people nationwide, also pledged to continue providing clear ways for enrollees to appeal coverage claim decisions and eliminate rescissions, except in cases involving fraud (Krauskopf, Reuters, 6/11).
The Wall Street Journal reports that the insurer stopped short of promising to offer health coverage to children with pre-existing conditions, as required by the overhaul. However, the company noted "one company acting alone cannot take that step" so it "is committed to working with all other participants in the health care system to sustain that coverage" (Wilde Matthews, Wall Street Journal, 6/11).
UnitedHealth CEO Stephen Hemsley said, "The protections we are voluntarily extending are good for people's health, promote broader access to quality care and contribute to helping control rising health care costs" (Los Angeles Times, 6/11).
According to the New York Times, it is unclear whether other insurers will make similar pledges, but UnitedHealth's move likely will put pressure on them to follow suit (Abelson, New York Times, 6/11).