A unit of UnitedHealth Group Inc. says it will stick with some of the patient relationship requirements set by the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) no matter what the U.S. Supreme Court concludes about the constitutionality of the law.
UnitedHealthcare, the health insurance arm of UnitedHealth, Minnetonka, Minn. (NYSE:UNH), says one of the PPACA provisions that it will adopt as its own standard includes the requirement that plans that offer dependent coverage make the coverage available to dependents up to age 26.
UnitedHealthcare also will continue to follow the new appeals process standards; a rule that bans moves to rescind coverage except in cases of fraud; a rule that bans lifetime benefits limits; and a rule requiring non-grandfathered plans to provide a package of basic preventive health services, such as blood pressure checks, with no out-of-pocket costs for the patient.
UnitedHealthcare will work with other companies to try to find a practical way to implement a rule banning plans from imposing pre-existing condition exclusions on children up to age 19, the company says.
UnitedHealth President Stephen Hemsley says in a statement that the company is voluntarily agreeing to keep the standards because the standards promote access to quality care and can help control health care costs.
“These provisions make sense for the people we serve, and it is important to ensure they know these provisions will continue,” Hemsley says.
Observers expect the Supreme Court to issue a ruling on the constitutionality of PPACA by the end of the month.