New York Governor David Paterson signed a variety of new bills into law which provide protection in a wide range of health care issues. One important bill is Ian’s Law.
Among the bills signed are protections from certain insurance practices. Insurers are now prohibited from dropping entire classes of insurance which had allowed insurers to deny insurance to groups of individuals who had expensive medical conditions.
Known as Ian’s Law the bill was named for Ian Pearl a 37 year old patient who suffers from muscular dystrophy. Mr. Pearl had been insured by Guardian but lost his health insurance when Guardian, acting under the current insurance laws of New York, terminated an entire class of policies that included Mr. Pearl.
In 1991 Mr. Pearl became dependent on a ventilator and had relied on his health insurance policy to provide him with the skilled nursing care he needed to survive.
The bill was introduced by New York State Senators Eric T. Schneiderman and Neil Breslin. Ian’s Law requires that insurance companies prove to the Department of Insurance that they are not dropping a line of coverage merely as a pretext for eliminating policyholders with costly medical conditions.
As part of the new law, health insurance companies must
- Iget permission from the Insurance Department to drop a line of coverage – and notify impacted policyholders when they apply.
- Ishow the following to the Insurance Department: the claims and premium rates for each policy issued in the class, the historical profits and losses for the line of policies, and any other information requested by the Department.
The Department of Insurance must
- look at this information to determine if the dropping of a class of policies statewide is merely a pretext for dropping coverage of a particular individual.
- make sure that policyholders are given an opportunity to comment on the impact of the dropped policies, and
- take the comments of policy holders into account.
Ian’s Law was supported by a wide range of consumer advocate groups, consumer protections groups and health care reform groups. It was opposed by the insurance industry.
What do you think? Please tell your stories by posting your comments and opinions. Make your voice heard in this discussion. For the latest news SUBSCRIBE here