Say NO to AGE RATING.
Dear Members of Congress: Please eliminate age rating for health insurance premiums in health care reform efforts. I commend you for trying to end the practice of denying Americans health coverage based on pre-existing medical conditions or charging people higher premiums because of health status. However, I am concerned that proposals allowing health insurance companies to charge older patients up to 5 times more than younger adults solely based on age (the 5:1 rating rules) will leave many older Americans in the same boat they are in now: without access to affordable, comprehensive coverage. If the lowest cost benefit runs $200 per month (a modest estimate), this means I could be charged up to $1000 per month for health insurance based solely upon my age. This discrimination is unacceptable, and I will not stand for it. Two in three adults ages 50-64 in the individual insurance market spend 10 percent or more of their income on health care. As Americans age, as we all hope to do, we are more likely to experience chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. Because age is strongly associated with health status, age rating allows a process to remain where people who need more care, are most likely to have pre-existing conditions, and who have limited income potential are still paying more for the same coverage. It makes little sense to prevent insurance rating based upon health status and then turn around and implement new rules that will have the same effect. I strongly urge you to eliminate provisions allowing age rating, and instead provide Americans with a true community rating, a stop loss benefit and broader eligibility for subsidies in order to ensure that health care reform results in truly comprehensive and affordable coverage for older Americans. Sincerely,