Obama still misses the mark: HIPAA prohibits health insurance cancellations

Obama still misses the mark in today's press conference. Federal law already prohibits insurance companies from cancelling policies, and his Photo: AP

WASHINGTON, November 14, 2013 – President Obama continues to miss the mark. Federal law already prohibits insurance companies from cancelling policies, and his “fix” is a flop.

Millions of insurance policies are being cancelled throughout the country, as reports confirm. Democrats were aware this would happen under the new Obamacare law. However, these millions of insurance policies should never have been cancelled.

Federal law prohibits their cancellation.

(Listen to the explanation and the interview with Bill Elliott on The Sara Marie Brenner Show .)

In an interview with The Washington Times, C. Steven Tucker, a health insurance and Obamacare expert in Illinois, explains that the HIPAA law section 2742 (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) does not permit these insurance policies to be cancelled. It has been illegal since 1997 to cancel someone’s health insurance coverage when you are sick or when you have claims.

During the original fight to pass the Obamacare law, Democrats frequently paraded people across press conference stages to explain that they had lost their individual health insurance policies when they became sick. These same lawmakers evidently failed to recognize that what those insurance companies were doing was already illegal.

They could have helped those constituents by having their policies reinstated, but instead chose to create political hysteria to further their agenda.

Bill Elliott, a cancer patient who admitted that he voted for President Barack

Obama, had his insurance cancelled. His interview aired on The Kelly File on Fox News Channel in which he acknowledged that the new price of his insurance is so high that he has resigned himself to dying.

On his personal blog, Tucker writes about Elliott’s situation: “This is the worst time to cancel someone’s coverage. And, that is precisely why Public Law 104-191 was written and passed by Congress in 1997. It was written to protect Americans from such a situation.”

In Elliott’s case, none of the required elements have occurred for the policy cancellation to be permissible under HIPAA. Federal law requires that his health insurance policy remain intact, despite what HHS and Sebelius may have written in to regulation.

Tucker advises that you cite this section of the HIPAA and “…contact your governor or state Attorney General’s office because your health insurer is violating a Federal law based on a posting in the Federal register that was not passed by Congress and as such does not trump an existing Federal law.”

Through Facebook, Tucker was able to make contact with Elliott to share this information with him. Elliott updated Tucker writing to him, “Steve, the company decided to keep me active. Since it is a chronic illness. Until this illness kills me. Battle #1 is won. Now the hard part. You literally saved me. Thank you so much.”

There is now precedent with Elliott that when you remind your insurance company of the HIPAA requirements, a cancelled health insurance plan can quickly become a reinstated plan.

Why are policies being cancelled if federal law prohibits it? Insurance companies seem to be only reviewing and implementing the regulations created under the new Obamacare law, rather than enforcing a law that has been on the books for nearly two decades. Perhaps this was a known aspects of negotiation to bring the health insurance companies on board. Companies’ profit margins were expected to be higher from policies purchased through the exchange. Individuals would be purchasing required levels of coverage that were so high as to be never be utilized. When a policy for a man must include coverage for mammograms, birth control, abortion and other elements he would clearly never claim, it may be more evident why an insurance would select to cancel someone’s plan under the proviso that it was required with the new Obamacare law.

Furthermore, President Obama is so desperate to move people into the exchanges that existing laws are being altogether ignored. In Obama’s press conference Thursday, he instructed insurance companies to renew these cancelled policies and to provide individuals with other options. There was never mention of the fact that federal law prohibits was is currently taking place. Just as Congressmen are pre-occupied with pre-existing conditions being covered, it would behoove them to also reference, respect and enforce pre-existing laws.

Approximately 14 million policies were purchased after the Obamacare passed that were not grandfathered. These are all expected to be cancelled due to Obamacare regulations. However, HIPAA prevents them from being cancelled, regardless of what HHS has regulated, because the federal law cannot be usurped by Sebelius’ entries in to the federal register.

When President Obama says that he is going to “fix” this situation, perhaps what he should do is simply allow federal law to be enforced. He still misses the mark in his explanation Thursday.

When you abide by current laws on the books, you usually discover that additional laws are not necessary. In a nation where no one person can know or understand all of the laws under which we are supposed to live, perhaps this is indeed the problem. In the case of Elliott and many others whose policies are being cancelled, it appears that federal law was forgotten or altogether shoved aside.


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Sara Marie Brenner

Sara Marie Brenner is the “conservatarian” host of The Sara Marie Brenner Show where she interviews A-list guests with passion. Brenner is the creator of TheBrennerBrief.com, and a former Ohio-based reporter for Human Events where she had a voter-fraud story go viral on Drudge. In addition, she has written for Yahoo!, Watchdog Wire, The Brenner Brief and other media outlets. Brenner appeared with BlogCon attendees on The Glenn Beck Program in May 2013, and also works with right-of-center folks needing marketing, PR and social media services.

In her home city, she was elected to city council in 2009 and her husband, Andrew, is an Ohio State Representative. She is very active on social media, where she regularly engages with listeners and readers. A classically trained pianist and former musical theatre and opera performer, in her spare time she’s likely to be doing something creative, including nurturing her inner amateur chef.

Her motto (via Winston Churchill): “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood for something, sometime in your life.” 

 

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