As President talks to Congress about healthcare, some specific answers for you

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By Consumers Union on Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

As President Obama addresses Congress about his healthcare goals, many Americans still have questions about what it will mean to them. What if I already have decent coverage through my job? What if I can’t get insurance now? What will happen to my Medicare? And how much will this cost us?

The Washington Post does a great job giving succinct answers to these and other questions about health reform. Check out the report here, as well as some helpful graphics.

And make sure you read the Post’s great story about the insurance industry’s outrageous practice known as “rescission” — a term for canceling coverage on grounds that the insurance company was misled. Several patients tell their stories of submitting a claim, only to be told they no longer have coverage because they failed to list a pre-existing condition on a routine application. Often times, the pre-existing condition isn’t related at all to the new medical problem.

As the Post reports:

In a pending case, Blue Shield searched in vain for an inconsistency in the health records of the wife of a dairy farmer after she filed a claim for emergency gallbladder surgery, according to attorneys for the family. Turning to her husband’s questionnaire, the company discovered he had not mentioned his high cholesterol and dropped them both. Blue Shield officials said they would not comment on a pending case.

Rescission is a great way for insurance companies to make more profit — insurance industry officials admitted in Congressional hearings they had saved $300 million by canceling about 20,000 policies over five years.

All the health reform proposals before Congress would effectively ban rescission by prohibiting insurance companies from discriminating against patients for pre-existing conditions. Recession is just another of the many reasons why health reform is so desperately needed to level the playing field between consumers and the giant insurance companies.

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