Tester: ‘What happened to these Montanans will never happen again’

Senator highlights new consumer protections against insurance industry abuses

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Senator Jon Tester today praised the enactment of new consumer protections for all Americans that were included in the health care reform law passed earlier this year.

Beginning today, health insurance companies are now barred from dropping coverage for folks who get sick, imposing lifetime limits on coverage, or denying coverage for children because of preexisting medical conditions.

New protections for all Americans effective today include:

  • A ban on insurance companies dropping coverage for folks who get sick
  • An end to limits on lifetime benefits
  • A ban on insurance companies denying coverage for children because of preexisting medical conditions
  • An end to all copayments for preventative health services
  • An extension of parents’ health coverage for children and dependents to age 26
  • A ban on insurance companies discriminating based on salary
  • The establishment of an external appeals process for consumers to appeal claims or coverage determinations by their insurer

Tester highlighted new consumer protections and cited the many Montana families who had contacted him after having their coverage dropped or denied.

Last year, Tester brought stories from Montanans to the Senate floor when he urged his colleagues to begin fixing a system that was “breaking Montana’s families.”

“Families across Montana were getting a raw deal from a broken health insurance system before we passed these reforms,” Tester said.  “Starting today, what happened to these Montanans will never happen again.  This law may not be perfect, but it’s a giant step forward toward protecting hardworking folks across America.  And making sure big insurance companies live up to their end of the bargain.”

Montanans have already begun seeing the benefits of the new health care reform law, which paved the way for tax credits that are already available to small business owners to help pay the cost of insuring their employees.  The law also permits Montanans who have been denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition to find affordable insurance through a new high-risk group.

The new health care reforms, signed into law in March, are also expected to cut the national deficit, close the Medicare prescription drug “doughnut hole”, protect veterans’ benefits, and slow the rise in health care costs.

Montanans can shop for health coverage options, find affordable health clinics, see the new Patients’ Bill of Rights, track the reform law, and eventually, compare prices for insurance options online at: http://www.healthcare.gov/