Harkin: New Patient’s Bill of Rights Another Promise of Health Reform Coming to Reality

New Rules Include Protecting Children from Pre-Existing Condition Exclusions and Ending Lifetime Limits on Coverage

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement praising regulations issued today by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that would implement a new Patient’s Bill of Rights under the health reform bill, The Affordable Care Act.  For most plans starting on or after September 23, these new rules would, among other things, stop insurance companies from excluding children with pre-existing conditions from coverage; prohibit insurers from rescinding or taking away coverage based on an unintentional mistake on an application; ban insurers from setting lifetime limits on coverage; and restrict their use of annual limits on coverage.

“Just 90 days after President Obama signed the historic health reform bill into law, we are seeing some of the biggest benefits of the bill come to fruition,” said Harkin.  “These are consumer-friendly provisions that protect families from some of the worst abuses by insurance companies.  Hard-working Americans will no longer have to worry that their sick child will be denied health insurance because of a preexisting condition, that a loved one will lose coverage because they have hit a ‘lifetime limit’ for care, or that their own coverage can be taken away because of an innocent mistake or omission on an application.

“We have been talking about implementing a Patient’s Bill of Rights in Congress for over 15 years now, and under The Affordable Care Act and the rules issued today, we finally have these needed protections in place.  This is truly the promise of health reform coming into reality and I commend the Administration for their work to implement these important new rules.”

More information on the new Patient’s Bill of Rights can be found here.

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