Coverage Limits Allowed Under Health Care Loophole

By: AP
By: AP

There's a loophole in the Senate health care bill that would let insurers limit medical care for people with costly illnesses such as cancer.

The provision would allow insurance companies to put annual limits on the dollar value of medical care, as long as those limits are not "unreasonable." The bill does not define what would be allowed. That task would go to government officials.

Legislation that passed the Senate health panel last summer would have banned such limits, but that provision has been weakened in the bill now heading toward a Senate vote.

The loophole is prompting harsh criticism from patient advocates. Officials at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network say they were taken by surprise when the earlier ban was undercut.

A policy expert says having annual limits on care essentially invalidates the legislation's ban on lifetime limits.

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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