Source: The Wall Street Journal
UnitedHealth Group Inc. said Monday it plans to keep offering several health insurance benefits now required under the federal health overhaul legislation, even if the Supreme Court strikes down the entire law.
The nation's biggest insurer, which covers 26,445 privately insured people, said it would continue to allow young people to stay on their parents' plans until the age of 26.
The company said it also would retain a number of other health plan features mandated by the law, including a ban on lifetime maximums on most benefit payouts, as well as a promise that policies can generally only be rescinded in cases where a consumer was deliberately misleading in an application.
UnitedHealth's plans also will provide certain preventive care with no out-of-pocket charges, including recommended vaccinations.
It wasn't clear whether that guarantee extended to some additional benefits that are set to join the list this August under the federal law, including contraception for women.
In a statement, UnitedHealth Group chief executive Stephen J. Hemsley said the provisions "are good for people's health, promote broader access to quality care and contribute to helping control rising health care costs."
The move aligns UnitedHealth with parts of the law that were designed to be most consumer friendly.
However, the company stopped short of promising to sell coverage to children regardless of pre-existing health conditions, another requirement under the law.
In a release, UnitedHealth said that "one company acting alone cannot take that step, so UnitedHealthcare is committed to working with all other participants in the health care system to sustain that coverage."
UnitedHealth also didn't pledge to stick with another feature of the health law that is already in effect, the requirement that insurers spend at least 80 percent of premium dollars from individuals and small companies, and 85 percent of those from big employers, on health-related costs.