WASHINGTON, D.C. – Health plans on July 29 reiterated its strong support for new market rules and consumer protections to cover all Americans and guarantee coverage for pre-existing conditions.

“Health insurance reform is an essential part of health care reform,” said AHIP President and CEO Karen Ignagni. “Health plans have listened to concerns of the American people and proposed reforms to cover everyone and make sure no one is locked out of the system because of a pre-existing condition.”

Last year, health plans offered a proposal that includes far-reaching market reforms and new consumer protections. Health plans proposed guaranteed coverage for pre-existing conditions, discontinuing rating based on a person’s health status or gender and a personal coverage requirement to achieve universal coverage. To learn more about AHIP’s reform proposal, visit: http://www.americanhealthsolution.org/assets/Uploads/ahipreformpolicyproposal.pdf.

These proposals are highlighted in a new national television ad campaign AHIP launched last week in support of bipartisan health care reform. To view the ad, visit: http://www.americanhealthsolution.org/supporting-bipartisan-reforms.

In a national survey, more than 70% of Americans signaled their support for a personal coverage requirement as part of a reform plan that includes market reforms, new consumer protections and tax credits.

Background on Individual Market Reform

AHIP’s survey of the individual market shows that individually purchased health insurance is far more affordable and accessible than is widely known. The survey found that 9 out of 10 applicants undergoing medical underwriting were offered coverage. The plans commonly purchased by consumers provided financial protection and a wide range of benefits, including coverage for behavioral health, prescription drugs and preventive services.

Some individuals are unable to purchase individual health insurance coverage in the private market because of their health status. One approach taken by states to address this issue has been the enactment of guarantee issue legislation without a coverage requirement. These well-intentioned reforms have often resulted in severe unintended consequences, including significantly higher costs for all policyholders.

A report by Milliman, Inc. found that enactment of guarantee issue laws in the absence of a coverage requirement may incentivize people to defer seeking coverage until they have health problems – a situation which unfairly penalizes those who are currently insured. According to the report, states that implemented these laws saw a rise in insurance premiums, a reduction of individual insurance enrollment and no significant decrease in the number of uninsured. To learn more about the individual market survey and the Milliman report, visit: http://www.americanhealthsolution.org/reform-resources/.