On Saturday ABC News published an Associated Press report that insurance industry experts estimate about 14 million people, or 5 percent of the total market for health care coverage, buy individual policies. Under Obamacare, some of these policy holders are at risk of needing to change their coverage. Many have received letters informing them of that fact.
The first step in moving the United States into the ranks of developed nations with health care coverage for all was to define a minimum acceptable level of coverage. If you want to require people to be covered you have to tell them what you mean by coverage. There is no other way.
This has led to the current furor, along with President Obama's ill thought out promise that if you like your health insurance policy, you can keep it.
Health insurance companies have sent letters informing many holders of health care policies that their coverage doesn't meet minimum standards under the health care reform act and their policies will need to be replaced. These are policies bought on the individual insurance market before health care reform. Most individuals will be able to change to polices that provide better coverage at lower costs after qualifying for subsides under the law.
Under the Affordable Care Act, health care plans sold in the United States are required to provide 10 essential benefits, including mental health and substance abuse treatments, prescription drug coverage, physical and occupational therapy, preventive care and pediatric services.
Some buyers of health coverage may think they don't need one or more of these 'essentials.' Those without children might like to opt for lower cost policies without pediatric services and those who feel they will never need mental health or substance abuse treatments would prefer less expensive policies that don't cover these. But people who feel this way may want to think twice. Think about the greater good that comes from covering pediatric services and mental health. We all get something from a nation with healthier children with greater chances of becoming productive adults, whether those children are our own or are our neighbor's, and we all get a potentially safer world if we get mental health problems treated before they lead to tragedies, whether they are our own issues of mental health or those with whom we live, learn, work or play.
And we all should approve of other conditions imposed on the sellers of health coverage policies. Who will think it not fair that health insurance companies cannot drop coverage for someone who becomes ill after they buy coverage? Similarly, who will not think it a good policy to require that those in the business of offering health care insurance will have to offer the same coverage options for the same price to those with preexisting conditions as they offer to the rest of us, even if it means our health care policy may cost us a bit more?
And who doesn't think it a good idea that acceptable health coverage plans can no longer put limits on out of pocket costs, or what a policy holder may have to pay in deductibles and co-pays, and ends the lifetime limits on what insurers will pay towards health care costs of policy holders?
It's either minimum standards for health care or continuing the state of chaos and the 'every one for themselves and the hell with everyone else mentality' that currently categorizes United States health care.