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In Clash Over Health Bill, a Growing Fear of ‘Junk Insurance’

NYT

State insurance regulators say the proposal harks back to the days when insurance companies, even household names like Aetna and Blue Cross, sold policies so skimpy they could hardly be called coverage at all. Derided as “junk insurance,” the plans had very low premiums but often came with five-figure deductibles. Many failed to pay for medical care that is now deemed essential.Continue reading the main storyOne Aetna plan, for example, defined hospitalization coverage as mainly for room and board. It capped coverage at $10,000 for “other hospital services,” a category that included such routine care as medication and operating room expenses.The Affordable Care Act drastically changed the health insurance landscape by requiring insurers to offer a set of comprehensive benefits — including hospitalization, doctor visits, prescription drugs, maternity care and mental health and substance abuse treatment — in order to formally qualify as insurance. “The new bill opens the door to junk insurance,” said Dave Jones, the California insurance commissioner.Ned Scott, 34, who lives in Tucson, said the health plan he had before the Affordable Care Act left him with $40,000 to $50,000 in unpaid medical bills after he learned he had testicular cancer when he was in his late 20s.“I thought it would cover things,” Mr. Scott said

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In Clash Over Health Bill, a Growing Fear of ‘Junk Insurance’

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