White House Unveils Consumer Protections In Health Law

New health-law-prompted regulations were released Tuesday, Kaiser Health News reports. The regulations could likely affect a small fraction of the country, but address key insurance concerns: 

- Insurers would no longer be able to deny coverage to kids with pre-existing conditions.
- Certain annual and all lifetime limits on benefits would be prohibited.
- Insurers would no longer be allowed to drop coverage when policy holders get sick.

KHN also detailed the possible insurance premium increases.

The Los Angeles Times adds that the regulations also would prohibit insurers from requiring policyholders to get prior authorization for emergency services. "Administration officials estimated that as many as 200,000 children and adults could benefit from the protections, not counting several million who could gain easier access to emergency care, according to an analysis accompanying the proposed regulations." Republicans said the rules were a mere sales pitch for the law, which some GOP lawmakers have called to repeal (Levey, 6/23).

Related, earlier KHN story: Health Law Guarantees Protections For Emergency Room Visits (Mertens, 5/13)

Obama told a White House audience of 160 people that "Insurance companies should see this as an opportunity to improve care and increase competition," MSNBC reports. "The new regulations being implemented by the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury, will put in place the strongest consumer protections in the nation's history -- giving Americans 'peace of mind,' Obama said" (Jones, 6/22).

The Washington Times: "Mr. Obama made the announcement amid continuing voter concern about the expanded role of government and that a major component of the initiative - health coverage for roughly 32 million uninsured Americans - doesn't begin until 2014"  (Weber, 6/22).

Kaiser Health News tracked yesterday afternoon's news coverage of the White House event and the new regulations.

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