Patient advocates are now saying that insurers are specifically placing barriers in the way for some customers.
Among the main goals of the health care reform had been to eliminate the existence of discrimination by insurance companies against people who have preexisting conditions, but leading patient advocate groups are now saying that this effort is being undermined by new challenges put into place by insurers.
The insurance industry has responded to these accusations by saying that a legitimate cost control is being misinterpreted.
At the same time, some state regulators have pointed out that problems could potentially exist when insurance companies issue policies that shift the costs of health care to the patients, themselves, while slimming down the options available in terms of doctors and hospitals. Open enrollment in the federal and state insurance exchanges for next year’s plans begins on November 15, which is only three months away.
The Obama administration is being pressed to look into these insurance companies before that time.
There has been a call for the enforcement of the anti-discrimination provisions of the Affordable Care Act. While there has been the issuing of some regulations, there are others that remain in a pending state, despite the fact that the health care reform, itself, began over four years ago.
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There have been over 300 patient advocacy groups that have been writing to Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in order to register a complaint about the tactics that are being used in insurance policies, which “are highly discriminatory against patients with chronic health conditions and may … violate the (law’s) nondiscrimination provisions.”
Among the groups that have written to Sylvia Mathews Burwell are the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Easter Seals, the American Lung Association, the AIDS Institute, the Epilepsy Foundation, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, United Cerebral Palsy, and the National Kidney Foundation. Each of those groups are in support of the health care reform law. However, among their highest concerns is the coverage of expensive drugs by insurance companies. They also state that they have been disappointed in the struggle that has been experienced by consumers when trying to obtain a full understanding of the coverage provided by a plan when shopping on the exchanges. Additional research is frequently required when it comes to specific drug coverages, the doctors and hospitals within the network, and precise copayments.