FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Dan B. Frankel
State Rep. Deberah L. Kula
As national health law’s preventive coverage and consumer protection kick in, western Pa. legislators introduce bills to implement them at state level
PITTSBURGH, Aug. 1 – As two major protections in the Affordable Care Act take effect today, two western Pennsylvania legislators have introduced or will introduce bills to provide those protections in state law as well.
Today marks the first annual deadline when insurers are required to provide rebates if less than 80 percent of the premium dollars they collect go toward medical care; for insurers covering large employers, that threshold is 85 percent. Also starting today, the ACA requires new health insurance policies to cover preventive health services fully – with no co-payment and no deductible.
State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, said of the law requiring rebates, "This law makes certain that health insurance dollars actually pay for health care. Pennsylvanians deserve the consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act. Now we need to put these protections into state law as well, so that Pennsylvania law reflects the benefits of our federal law.”
Frankel will introduce the state bill that will require that health insurance companies spend a minimum percentage of premiums on health care.
In the first year, Pennsylvanians with individual health policies will receive more than $20 million in rebates, with 133,264 consumers receiving an average of $238 dollars each. Almost 4,000 Pennsylvanians in the small group marketplace will share $345,698 in rebates, and Pennsylvanians in the large group marketplace will receive $30,565,319.
State Rep. Deberah Kula, D-Fayette/Westmoreland, already has introduced the bill (H.B. 478) to establish the preventive-care protections.
"Preventive services allow doctors to catch a health issue before it becomes a health crisis," Kula said. "Unfortunately, lack of insurance coverage for preventive health services, or high co-pays and deductibles, has made it financially difficult for people to have such regular health screenings."
When introducing her bill last year, Kula noted that Americans use preventive services at about half the recommended rate. Yet chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes – which are responsible for seven of 10 deaths each year and account for 75 percent of the nation's health spending – are often preventable, she said.
Services fully covered as preventive care include childhood immunizations, cervical cancer screening, colorectal cancer screening and tobacco use counseling, among others.
More information about the federal law's new preventive coverage features is available online at www.healthcare.gov/prevention.