SA 2859 Snowe/Landrieu/Lincoln – nationwide plans: deletes state opt out language, adds rating requirements to plan requirements
If you live in a state with strong minimum benefit insurance regulations (California, Minnesota, New York, and Vermont come to mind), you will lose your current health insurance, and your insurance coverage will get worse.
What are nationwide plans? As I explained in an earlier post, they are an idea strongly championed by the health insurance lobby. The Senate bill would effectively nullify current state regulations on what insurance plans must cover by allowing insurance companies to sell “nationwide plans” in any state. These nationwide plans would only be required to meet the minimum coverage benefits mandated by the federal government and the state in which they are based. (Think of the deregulation of the credit card industry.) These nationwide plans could sell in other states, and would be exempt from those states' insurance regulations. In effect, this completely guts state insurance regulation of minimum coverage. Utah, for instance, has very lax regulation, so expect all insurance companies to be based there by 2016.
Currently, the bill has an opt-out to allow states to stop these state-law-violating nationwide plans from being sold in their state. Snowe, Lincoln, and Landrieu want to take away this power from states and force them to allow these national insurance plans to be sold. These three Senators want to take away states' rights to regulate health insurance, and gut many states' insurance regulations. This is a very bad amendment that will make health insurance worse for millions and millions of Americans.