Insurance bill is a ‘race to the bottom in health-insurance coverage’

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

A friend and colleague of mine, Barry Kirschner, penned this guest opinion today in the Arizona Daily Star and urges you to call the Governor's office and tell her to veto SB 1593 which permits the interstate sale of health-insurance policies in Arizona for the first time (these policies would not be subject to the regulatory jurisdiction of the Arizona Department of Insurance), and grants Arizona insurers a waiver from Arizona health-insurance mandates to be "competitive" with these out-of-state health-insurance policies that are subject to far fewer regulations and mandates in other states. Policy holders would also have to bring legal claims in the state where the health-insurance policy orginated under choice of law and venue clauses in most insurance policies. Mr. Kirschner is an expert in insurance bad faith claims, so he knows of the dangers of which he speaks. Call Gov. Brewer at 1-(800) 253-0883. (It's toll-free!) Or visit her Web page to leave a comment.

Mr. Kirschner writes Insurance bill is a threat to business, families:

If Gov. Jan Brewer signs it, they will come – to bankruptcy court.

SB 1593 will lead to tragedy for thousands of our citizens. It will also burden the hospital and health-care system with an increased flow of inadequately insured patients with major illness.

If SB 1593 is enacted, we will see a race to the bottom in health-insurance coverage. Companies from states with low or no standards will be allowed to sell shoddy health-insurance policies here, and Arizona's insurers will be granted the right to match the new, lowered bar so they can shave their premiums to match the new cut-rate policies.

What we now consider basic coverage will become a thing of the past for some, particularly those left to purchase individual policies.

Our remedies to protect people from the heartless denial of coverage by insurers is already pitifully weak. Needed corrective surgery for children is too often denied as "cosmetic." Cancer and cardiac patients are denied tests to establish their levels of danger.

The enactment of SB 1593 will make situations like these far more common, reducing peace of mind for knowledgeable consumers and creating potentially disastrous gaps in coverage for those lacking knowledge or power.

The number of bankruptcies of Arizonans who find out too late their insurance is woefully inadequate will skyrocket.

For 30 years clients have come to my law office with tragic stories of insurance claims denied by a company's nickel-and-dime tactics.

SB 1593, if it is signed by the governor and becomes law, would open the floodgates, multiplying the number of victims like these who will drown in debt from devastating medical bills.

Insurance companies are expert at selling their policies like pharmaceutical companies hawking erectile-dysfunction medication, tailoring their message to give the illusion of comprehensive health coverage while promising lower premiums. We will be assured we can buy all the coverage we need at bargain-basement prices.

But these same companies know how to calculate their profits far better than consumers understand what they are buying.

The advertised message to consumers will be smiles. The claims departments will be getting memos explaining how to deny coverage for expensive treatments, even if they are needed to save the life of the patient.

Consumers need the peace of mind that comes from protection against further harm if they are stricken by an unexpected loss. This is true whether their house catches fire, they are in a car accident or they or their loved ones become ill. Insurance coverage comes with an implicit promise it will slow or stop the downward spiral from the loss.

But it is a cynical, part-empty promise if we lower the standards for what is considered adequate health-insurance coverage.

All of us suffer if health-care consumers lose their safety net. We all take a financial hit when more people are forced into bankruptcy.

Health-care costs increase for everyone if hospitals are forced to provide care beyond what is covered by insurance. Contagious diseases spread if people cannot go to the doctor because they lack adequate coverage.

As bad as our health-care problems are now, they will be made far worse if SB 1593 becomes law.

0 responses to “Insurance bill is a ‘race to the bottom in health-insurance coverage’

  1. I’ll make the call, but I really don’t think a phone call to the governor matters one whit to her. If Svengali tells her to do something, she does it.