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Health Insurance Reform - DAILY MYTHBUSTER: Insurance Company Claims

With a 33 million customer list, insurance giant Wellpoint is now actively fueling the misinformation campaign against health insurance reform and America's Affordable Health Choices Act. In a recent email to customers, California insurer Anthem Blue Cross, a Wellpoint subsidiary, attacked the bill on key fronts.  

Myth: The House bill will cause “tens of millions of Americans to lose their private coverage and end up in a government-run plan…”

Fact: Actually, according to non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), private insurance coverage will expand by 16 million under reform.  And under the House bill, no one can ever be forced onto the public health insurance option.  The only way someone would be in the public plan is as a result of their own individual choice.  Approximately 1 in 10 Americans is expected to enter Health Insurance Exchange to purchase their own insurance at competitive rates - and there they will have a range of options - various private plans, and the public plan.  If an employer is providing their employees health insurance through the Exchange, it is the employee - not the employer - choosing the plan. Furthermore, rather than “tens of millions” ending up in the public option, the CBO projects that only 11 to 12 million -- or just over 3% of Americans -- will actually choose the public option.  [Find More Facts Here]

Myth: The House bill will limit “customers' choices of the products they can purchase and how they can purchase health coverage…”

Fact: The heart of the House bill is actually to create MORE choice and MORE options - and to help more Americans afford those options.  If you have a private insurance plan now, the House bill:

  • provides competition to help make your plan more affordable,
  • ends the insurance company practices of discrimination based on age, pre-existing condition, or a newly discovered illness,
  • ends copays for preventive care,
  • caps what you pay out-of-pocket, but eliminates yearly or lifetime cost caps on what insurance companies pay, and
  • requires a minimum set of benefits to help protect you from the fine print in a flimsy plan.

If you need to purchase health insurance, the bill creates an Insurance Exchange, providing one-stop shopping where you can compare and find the best and most affordable plan for you.  All those using the Insurance Exchange will have a range of choices - various private plans, and the public plan.  

Myth: The House bill will increase the “premiums of those with private coverage by imposing new mandates and coverage requirements.”

Fact: The House bill  promotes competition--designed to make your private insurance premiums more affordable--and offers affordability credits to those who need them.  The bill's minimum benefit requirements (the so-called “coverage requirements” under attack) are modest (less than the average benefit offered today), will NOT lead to increased premiums, and are designed to protect Americans from insurance company whims and fine print.  Furthermore, the bill contains numerous provisions to lower your costs, with caps on what you pay but not what insurers cover, no copays for your preventive care, and ending discrimination against you for getting sick or having a pre-existing condition.  But let's be clear:

  • right now, you pay about $1,100 more a year on your health care to cover the cost of 47 million uninsured Americans--whose emergency room-centered coverage costs more than if they were insured, as they would be under the House bill, and
  • without reform, the average American family of four is likely to see its health care costs increase $1,800 each and every year.

For more health insurance reform myth busting, please click here.

For more information on America's Affordable Health Choices Act, please click here.