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Most States Fail to Protect Consumers Against Insurance Company Abuses
Date:6/12/2008

First 50-State Survey of Insurance Commissioners Shows States Offer Few Protections against Common Insurance Company Abuses

WASHINGTON, June 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A 50-state survey, released today, reveals that insurance companies in most states are not prohibited from denying health coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, refusing to pay for services needed to treat common ailments, adding huge premium surcharges for people with family histories of health problems, and yanking policies and denying payments when consumers face a rash of medical bills.

The survey was released by Families USA, the national organization for health care consumers. It is the first 50-state survey of insurance commissioners that focuses on states' regulatory oversight of the individual health insurance market. That market is increasingly important as employer-sponsored health insurance declines and some elected officials promote its deregulated expansion.

The Families USA 50-state survey examined whether state safeguards exist in 14 categories of important consumer protections. The key findings include:

-- Only five states prohibit insurance companies from

"cherry-picking" the healthiest consumers and excluding

everyone else from coverage.

-- In 35 states and the District of Columbia, there are no limits on how

much insurers can raise premiums based on an individual's health

status. An additional six states have limits that still allow dramatic

variations in premiums.

-- In 21 states and the District of Columbia, insurers can exclude coverage

for pre-existing conditions, such as cancer and heart ailments, for more

than one year.

-- In 44 states and the District of Columbia, insurers can revoke an

individual's health insurance policy without advance review by the

state.

-- In 29 states a
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SOURCE Families USA
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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