December 10, 2019
December 10, 2019
Good morning, Chairman Brinkman, Ranking Member Boggs and members of the committee. My name is Wendy Patton and I am a senior project director of Policy Matters Ohio, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization with the mission of creating a more prosperous, equitable, sustainable and inclusive Ohio. Thank you for the opportunity to testify.
We support House Bill 390, which would codify for Ohioans the health care insurance protections of the Affordable Care Act.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) helped people whose jobs did not give them health insurance to get adequate and affordable coverage. Insurance was not well-regulated, and sometimes people paid for plans that didn’t cover all of their needs. Some faced discrimination in pricing. Women were charged more than men. Old people were charged far more than young people. Those with pre-existing conditions, such as asthma or cancer, could be charged so much they could not get any insurance at all.
Before the ACA, more than 4 million Ohioans had a lifetime limit on their insurance policy, meaning that the insurer capped benefits over the course of the person’s life. The ACA prohibits both lifetime and annual caps.
In 2009, more than 5 million Ohioans had a pre-existing condition that, prior to the ACA, would have meant insurers in the individual market could deny them a plan or quote them exorbitant premium rates. The ACA prohibited these practices.
The ACA ensures people with pre-existing conditions can get coverage, that prices are not discriminatory and that consumers are protected from inadequate plans.
The federal government is announcing new rules and demonstration programs that threaten these nationwide protections. Insurers could offer skimpier plans and discriminate in pricing. Individual plans could be cheaper for some but more expensive for others, including people who are elderly, disabled, or have pre-existing conditions, and for women of childbearing age. Over the past two years, new, changed or proposed rules that threaten the protections of the ACA include:
In the face of changes that threaten the consumer protections of the Affordable Care Act, Ohio lawmakers should step in to preserve such protections, for the health and financial security of Ohioans. We support House Bill 390, which would do this.
Thank you for this opportunity to testify. I will be glad to take questions.
1 of 22