UnitedHealthcare started it. Aetna and Humana soon followed.
Wellpoint’s waffling, holding out for the Supreme Court ruling.
What are they doing? Well, as we reported here, ("Other carriers jump on reform bandwagon") some of the largest insurers in the business have come out to say they’ll still abide by some of the aspects of PPACA regardless of what the court does.
Three of the top five insurers in the country plan to carry on with preventative care coverage – such as immunizations and screenings – without a copay. They also said they’ll keep covering those older children under their parents’ policies – until they hit 26, anyway. They’re also gonna maintain a more streamlined appeals process for denied claims.
United and Humana actually stepped out a little further, insisting they wouldn’t enforce lifetime dollar limits on claims.
All in all, it sounds like they’re playing nice even if they don’t have to. Because there’s still a real chance even these earlier regs could get tossed. We’ll find out soon enough.
But as we reported, these are the most popular provisions of the law, anyway, and the carriers have already done the math, lumping the extra costs into the last round of premium bumps. If anything, dropping these provisions might be a bigger headache at this point. So they can score a public relations win without taking a hit on their bottom line. Nothing wrong with that. Although it will be interesting to see if Wellpoint faces any backlash for dragging its feet on this while its competitors come out looking like humanitarians.
And, honestly, why wouldn’t they? Have we already forgotten how the carriers jumped on board this legislation early on – after the public option died, of course. And while I think it’s a stretch to say these carriers are “embracing” reform as a few mainstream media outlets are pointing out, it’s safe to say they’re simply accepting a new reality – something brokers need to start doing, as well.
I think this is a good move, though, and not just from a PR perspective. But what this really shows, is that, cynicism aside, while this legislation remains a convoluted mess, it does have its worthwhile provisions – even if they are buried under red tape and rampant spending. It also shows that no matter what happens to this particular law, some of the things it’s ushered in are here to stay, whether it’s as simple as coverage provision or as far-reaching as the state exchanges.