Monday, September 14, 2009

Coming Soon to a State Near You . . .

Looks like the folks in Maryland are getting a jump on Obamacare. According to this recently released memo from the Maryland Insurance Administration, CHANGE is coming soon.

Like the end of this month . . .

Effective 10/1/09 health insurance companies in Maryland will be required to adhere to the following.
  • Prohibit carriers from asking about pre-existing medical conditions if the individual has not received care or advice during the 5 years preceding the date of the application.

  • Prohibit carriers from asking about medical screening, testing or monitoring during the 5 years preceding the application

  • Prohibits the carrier from attaching an exclusionary rider without prior written consent of the policyholder. (This is a red herring. Riders and rate surcharges are part of the offer which can either be accepted or rejected by the applicant).

  • Allows a carrier to impose a pre-existing exclusion or limitation if that condition was not discovered during the underwriting process only if the condition was treated during the 12 months immediately preceding the application. The limitation can last for 12 months but is reduced by prior creditable coverage.

This is a bit of a conundrum.

If the carrier is prohibited from asking about conditions in the prior 5 years then how will they discover the condition? Even if a condition shows up in MIB (Medical Information Bureau) or Intelliscripts or similar service the carrier can't ask about the condition. Seems to me this will lead to a lot more declines.

The other way to find out about a condition is when it manifests or is treated after the policy is issued.

You just can't make this stuff up.

According to sources, none of the carriers operating in Maryland have made any official comments on this CHANGE. It makes me wonder if they have decided internally to simply stop accepting applications for October and later effective dates.

Of course changes like this require carriers to file new applications and policies with the Maryland DOI and wait on approval. New (much higher) rates will also have to be approved.

This effectively closes the door for new, individual health insurance policies in Maryland until further notice.

Looks like Maryland is now officially part of the United States of Obamaland. Wonder if they will change their name to Mary-Obamaland?

Change you can believe in.

Yes you can.
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