Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia have separately adopted at least one of the consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act as state law. No matter what the Supreme Court decides about the federal law, consumers in those 48 states continue to have at least some protection from the abusive practices of health insurance companies. These protections include:
- Prohibiting plans from dropping patients after they get sick;
- Requiring plans to cover preventive care with no co-pays;
- Prohibiting plans from refusing to cover children with preexisting conditions;
- Requiring plans to allow young adults to buy coverage through their parent’s plan;
- Prohibiting plans from imposing annual or lifetime dollar limits on coverage;
- Allowing patients to choose their primary care doctor or their child’s pediatrician;
- Prohibiting plans from refusing to cover emergency care without prior approval from the plan;
- Requiring plans to cover contraception on the same basis that it covers men’s reproductive health care; and
- Requiring plans to give women direct access to ob/gyn preventive care without a referral.
Eight politically-diverse states have passed all ten of these consumer protections. This ranged from solidly progressive states (Connecticut, Hawaii, and Vermont), states with split party control (Iowa, New York, North Carolina, and Oregon) and a state that is under conservative control (Maine).
Twelve equally diverse states have passed between five and nine of the consumer protections. From states under conservative control (Nebraska, North Dakota, Utah, and Virginia) to solidly progressive states (California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Washington), and states under split party control (Colorado, Minnesota, and New Jersey).
Thirty-eight states have passed between one and four consumer protections Only two states have failed to pass any of these consumer protections: Alaska and Wyoming.
Some of these market reforms were adopted by states prior to the Affordable Care Act, which was modeled in part after successful state policies. In addition to remedying these ten problematic health insurance industry practices, the federal health care reform law expands coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans, makes health insurance and health care more affordable, and improves the quality of our care.
(For more information on the impact that the Affordable Care Act has had in each state, see PSN's recent Issue Update: 50 State View of ACA Impact on Individuals and State Policy .)