Kansas House Democrats propose bill mandating policy coverage of pre-existing conditions (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Five House Democratic colleagues are sponsoring a bill to reform Kansas health insurance law to forbid marketing of policies exempting coverage of pre-existing conditions.

Major health insurance policies compliant with the Affordable Care Act feature a popular provision prohibiting distinctions for pre-existing medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes or asthma. Not all policies available in Kansas offer individuals such benefits, and Kansas lawmakers should adopt a higher standard for coverage, said Rep. Jason Probst, a Hutchinson Democrat.

“I wanted a state-level protection,” Probst said. “We provide protections for pre-existing conditions across all types of insurance.”

Other sponsors of House Bill 2074 were Democratic Reps. John Alcala, of Topeka; David Benson and Stephanie Clayton, of Overland Park; and Gail Finney, of Wichita.

A pre-existing condition, for purposes of health insurance, reflects a health problem existing before applying for a policy or enrolling in a plan.

Short-term, limited-duration policies championed by President Donald Trump’s administration offer consumers an insurance alternative with less expensive monthly premiums, in part, because they often lack coverage of pre-existing conditions.

A Kaiser Family Foundation study indicated this type of insurance policy could have significantly lower premiums because 71 percent didn’t cover outpatient prescription drugs and 62 percent didn’t cover mental health or substance use treatment.

Sen. Barbara Bollier, a Mission Hills Democrat and retired physician, has been a steadfast supporter of the ACA but wasn’t certain the House bill resolved issues raised by exemptions for pre-existing medical conditions.

“I would welcome closing the loophole,” Bollier said. “I don’t know if that’s the way you want to approach it.”

Under the House bill, companies serving residents of Kansas could temporarily impose a pre-existing condition exclusion for up to 90 days following the date of enrollment in a policy providing hospital, medical or surgical expense benefits. The bill requires pre-existing condition exclusions to run concurrently with any policy waiting period.

 

This article was originally published on The Topeka Capital-Journal website, here.