Merkley backs bill to let people keep health plans

Senator says promise should be kept

By KTVZ.COM news sources
POSTED: 12:02 PM PST November 13, 2013    UPDATED: 2:59 PM PST November 14, 2013 
Health care reform (MGN

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., said Wednesday he is cosponsoring the Keeping the Affordable Care Act Promise Act, a bill that assures consumers have the choice to keep their current health plans if they want to continue them.

During the debate over the Affordable Care Act, a promise was made to consumers that if they liked their health care plan, they could keep it. Merkley says he wants to ensure that this promise is kept for Oregonians.

“Our health care law laid out a vision that those who like their current individual health care plan can keep it, and that vision must be honored,” said Merkley. 

“The original bill had a grandfather provision, but that provision did not work as intended, the senator said.

When insurance companies changed significant provisions on policies, those policies lost their grandfather status.  Merkley said he is cosponsoring Senator Landrieu’s bill to fix that.

“The health care law has many valuable reforms that increase support for prevention, increase competition between insurance providers, and create an insurance consumers’ bill of rights that ends many predatory insurance practices," Merkley said.

"These are important changes that we must protect and implement as intended.  As I’ve said from the beginning, I will work on a bipartisan basis with colleagues to keep what works and fix what doesn’t.”

The legislation would allow people to keep their current individual health plan, as long as policyholders stay up to date with their payments and don’t make changes to the policy.

 Insurance companies would be required to notify policyholders about which parts of the policy do not meet minimum coverage standards made available in new plans, such as hospitalization, laboratory services, and prescription drugs, helping consumers to make informed decisions about their health plans.