The Corner

Insurers Cave on Kid Coverage

Insurers are signaling that they will not challenge a vaguely-worded provision in the Affordable Care Act that makes it unclear whether coverage has to be provided to children with pre-existing conditions.

In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the industry’s top lobbyist said insurers will accept new regulations to dispel uncertainty over a much-publicized guarantee that children with medical problems can get coverage starting this year.

Quick resolution of the doubts was a win for Obama — and a sign that the industry has no stomach for another war of words with a president who deftly used double-digit rate hikes by the companies to revive his sweeping health care legislation from near collapse in Congress.

“Health plans recognize the significant hardship that a family faces when they are unable to obtain coverage for a child with a pre-existing condition,” Karen Ignagni, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, said in a letter to Sebelius. Ignagni said that the industry will “fully comply” with the regulations, expected within weeks.

HHS Secretary Sebelius had earlier sent insurers a strong letter warming them that “Now is not the time to search for nonexistent loopholes that preserve a broken system.”

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