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Small Businesses and the Self-Employed Need Stronger Coverage Protections for Pre-Existing Conditions
Date:4/15/2008

National Patient Advocate Foundation supports new small business health initiative but urges strengthened pre-existing condition provision

WASHINGTON, April 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF) today endorsed new Senate legislation, Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), but called for stronger protections to protect patients with pre-existing conditions.

According to NPAF CEO and President Nancy Davenport-Ennis, "The SHOP proposal is a significant step forward for patients -- but it falls short in protecting those with serious, life-threatening and/or disabling disease who are often excluded from health coverage because of pre-existing conditions."

"NPAF applauds Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) for their leadership in acknowledging that small businesses and the self-employed are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain and maintain health insurance coverage for themselves and their employees," said Davenport-Ennis. "Unfortunately, their legislation does not go far enough for individuals and families dealing with pre-existing conditions."

The National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF) -- a national, non-profit organization dedicated to creating avenues of patient access to health care through state and federal public policy reform -- through its companion direct patient services organization, the Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF), has seen a steep increase in the number of patients facing individual coverage problems such as rescissions, disputes involving pre-existing condition exclusions and other access-related issues.

As a result, NPAF has been working with leaders in the Congress on legislation that limits to a maximum of three months any pre-existing condition exclusion. Congressman Joe Courtney (D-CT) and Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) have introduced companion legislation (H.R. 2833 & S. 223
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SOURCE National Patient Advocate Foundation
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