The legislation they are lobbying for imposes a modified “community rating” on all insurance providers. Community rating means that insurance companies can’t charge different rates for different individuals. While this sounds good on the surface, what it means is that younger, healthier workers would pay higher premiums, while the old and sick may pay less.
In addition, insurance companies wouldn’t be able to charge smokers more (which seems odd given the anti-smoking campaign of RendellCare), nor would they be able to offer discounts for “healthy behavior” – i.e. wellness or fitness programs.
Community ratings drive up the number of uninsured, and discourage younger, healthier customers from buying health insurance (even when health insurance is mandated, as in Massachusetts). Read more about community rating in the ALEC/CAHI State Legislator’s Guide to Health Care.
The RendellCare lobbyists claim that community rating would “help small businesses” and protect us from the big bad insurance companies. But small businesses oppose community rating, and many insurance companies favor it (including many of the big carriers), as they simply shift their cost to some people more while charging others less.
Instead, here are some actual reforms that reduce the cost of health care for everyone – insured and uninsured, employer-provided and individual purchasers, young and old, sick and healthy, smokers and the physically fit.
(Note: I don’t think I signed up for the InsurePANow email list, but I did sign up for the Rendell re-election list to follow campaign events, and I assume that InsurePANow got both the email list and Rendell’s campaign manager in a package deal)