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05/02/2014: "2004 Indiana Health Insurance Law Misses Mark"


February 27, 2008

Filed under: Healthcare,Indiana,Legal/Law,Politics: Healthcare,Politics: Legislators
Tags: Craig Fry, Golden Rule Insurance, high risk insurance, hoosiers, Indiana, insurance, Patricia Miller, pre-existing condition, UnitedHealth Group


The Indianapolis Star Business section has a great in-depth story on the 2004 insurance change in Indiana that allowed insurance companies to either deny insurance policies for pre-existing conditions, or waive coverage for 10 years for those conditions. At the time, it was touted as a way for more people to be covered, at a lower price, because the insurance companies would not have to cover "high risk" patients. In addition, in 2004, Indiana was only one of two states requiring insurance companies to cover these "high risk" patients. When the law was being discussed in the legislature, the insurance companies told our representatives they were in support of this measure, because it would help more of the citizens of Indiana get coverage, at a lower cost.

Well surprise, surprise. We now find more people are not covered, and, in fact, there are less people covered and the insurance companies continue to make record profits.

Here are some quotes from the story:

Sen. Patricia Miller, R-Indianapolis, sponsored the change in Indiana law and hoped it would reduce the number of people denied health insurance.

She also wanted to limit the increasing number of people who had no choice but to seek insurance through the state's high-risk insurance pool, which covers people who can't get insurance from any other source. The pool was facing insolvency.

"We believed having some insurance was better than having none at all," Miller said.

Miller said she's had no complaints.

Rep. Craig Fry, D-Mishawaka, opposed the measure and still thinks it benefits only insurance companies. He called the measure just an effort by the insurance industry to "take advantage of people who need health insurance."

Rich Collins, chief executive of Golden Rule Insurance Co., an Indianapolis-based subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group that sells individual policies, said Hoosiers have access to a strong and competitive health insurance market.

Collins said his company offers coverage to more than 89 percent of applicants.
"The fundamental issue is that health care is expensive," he said.

I'll let the reader make up their own mind as to what was really going on back in 2004, but I thinking it’s pretty clear this turned into a huge bonus for the insurance industry at the expense of citizens regardless of the intent.

Mr. Collins also got my dander up as he hit on a pet peeve of mine. "Health care" is not the same as health insurance. While "health care" may be expensive, health insurance is generally 30% higher to cover administering the policies, and paying his salary. Making health insurance much more expensive than health care.


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