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House bill sponsor: ACA promotes age-cost imbalance

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Feb. 25, 2013

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Rep. Phil Gingrey, MD (R, Ga.), a member of the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee, has introduced legislation to prevent higher costs from being passed on to younger people under the Affordable Care Act.

The ACA restricts the difference in premiums among people of different ages to a maximum of 3:1, even though “the cost disparity between a 26-year-old and 64-year-old is far greater, approaching or exceeding 5:1,” according to a statement from Dr. Gingrey’s website. In his assessment, costs will be passed onto younger people in the form of higher premiums to make up this difference, and some of these increases may be as high as 40%.

The result is that younger Americans facing high underemployment and school debt will end up subsidizing health care costs for older and more financially stable individuals, Dr. Gingrey said. His bipartisan bill, “Letting Insurance Benefit Everyone Regardless of Their Youth,” would enable states to decide what the age discounts in their insurance markets should be.

“Should a state fail to act, the legislation establishes a rating which better reflects the correlation between age and health care costs,” according to a statement from Dr. Gingrey. The legislation was introduced on Feb. 6 and referred to the Energy and Commerce panel.

Dr. Gingrey also plans to reintroduce another bill in the current congressional session that would better protect a physician’s ability to make health care decisions under the health system reform law.

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