Garamendi Criticizes Low-Cost, Limited-Coverage Health Insurance Policies
Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi (D) on Tuesday voiced concerns about low-cost health insurance policies with limited benefits at a hearing regarding regulation of the plans, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Insurers are "offering a growing array" of low premium plans with high deductibles and reduced coverage, and public officials, including Garamendi, have questioned whether the plans offer affordable access to health care, according to the Chronicle.
Garamendi said such health plans could contribute to some members declaring bankruptcy and could draw younger and healthier people out of insurance risk pools, driving up the cost of more comprehensive policies. Garamendi said, "As a regulator, I am troubled to see the floor of standard benefits eroding," adding that although lower-cost plans might seem like an attractive option to consumers, "it's all well and good until you happen to need that coverage."
Insurance industry representatives said health plans are responding to the marketplace by creating more lower-cost policies that cover people who might otherwise be uninsured and burden the public health system (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/21).