Archive for Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Legislation would limit insurance changes

Terms could not change until policy up for renewal

March 2, 2005

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— A conversation in a restaurant in Wellsville has led to a bill that would prohibit insurers from changing conditions of a health-care policy before the end of its term.

"The purpose of this bill is to bring some stability to policies," said state Rep. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin, the author of the legislation.

Holland said he got the idea for the bill after talking with Darren Maples, the owner of Smoky's, a barbecue restaurant and cafe in Wellsville.

Maples said his insurer changed his deductible in midyear, a change that cost him about $2,000 in later medical expenses.

"It would be like if you were eating a dinner at my restaurant and while you're eating, I decide to up the price. That's not right," Maples said.

Holland agreed.

He had House Bill 2255 drafted, which would prevent insurance companies from terminating or making changes to a health-care policy before the end of the term of that policy.

The measure didn't get a committee hearing, but right before a do-or-die legislative deadline last week, Holland amended his measure onto another insurance-related bill. The House passed the bill, and now it goes to the Senate.

Holland said he felt confident his provision also would be approved by the Senate. He said it just made sense that if a policyholder held up his or her end of a policy, the insurer should, too.

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