Review Your Texas Health Care Insurance for 2010


Add reviewing your Texas health care insurance policy to your December or January to-do list. In these tough economic times, it could help you save some money, or at least result in improved coverage. Lawmakers and consumer advocates are working on your behalf. As of June 2009, a number of new laws were passed that could have a positive impact on your Texas health insurance.

SB 1771 aligns Texas health insurance laws with federal laws in regard to the continuation of coverage after employment. Under the new provisions, COBRA coverage for employers with fewer than 20 employees has been extended from six months to nine months. It also allows affected employees to participate in the federal premium assistance program and requires employers to inform employees of the program.

HB 2064 amends the existing code to provide for discounts of premiums for people with qualifying financial need in Texas high risk pool. Discounts apply at different tiers of income against the federal poverty measure. This bill becomes affective as of January 1, 2010. Consult the Texas insurance code for more information.

HB 2256 addresses mediation of out-of-network claims with facility-based providers. Under this bill’s provisions, mediation is mandatory for unpaid disputed claims greater than $1,000.Except for emergencies, facility-based providers must also disclose that the provider does not a contract with the health plan and inform them under what circumstances the insured would be responsible for billed charges. It also delays collections efforts by physicians if the enrollee has requested mediation.

HB 3221 amends the Texas health insurance code to require insurance providers to provide mail notice of premium increases when premiums are paid automatically through account withdrawal or other means. The insurer must include a toll-free number and mailing address to allow policyholders to object to the increase. Under these provisions, premiums can be increased if no objection is received within five days of the increase taking affect.

In other house bills, benefits and coverage have been extended. For example insurers are now required to cover expenses for autistic children between the ages of three and six, and to extend health isnruace coverage for autism treatment from the time the child is diagnosed to the child’s ninth birthday. Other legislation expanded access to medical screening for the early detection of diabetes or cardio-vascular disease.

Check you policy, check your individual requirements and start shopping now for Texas health insurance quotes that suit your personal needs and budget.

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