Congressman Crowley Announces Patient's Bill of Rights to Take Effect Today

September 23, 2010
Press Release

Washington, D.C.Today, Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), praised the enactment of key provisions of the Health Insurance Reform Law that go into effect today. Also known as the Patient’s Bill of Rights, these provisions will put Americans and their doctors – not insurance companies – back in control of their health care.

“The Patient’s Bill of Rights will make some of the worst insurance industry abuses – dropping people when they are sick, capping coverage, denying coverage to sick children – a thing of the past,” said Congressman Crowley. “Starting today, many New Yorkers and their families will be eligible for important new benefits that will lower costs, increase the security of their coverage, and, most importantly, help them obtain better care.”

For plan years starting on or after September 23, 2010, all privately-insured Americans, including over 10 million in New York, will have the following protections:

• Health coverage cannot be arbitrarily cancelled if you become sick; 
• Children cannot be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition;
• Young adults up to age 26 can stay on their parents’ health plan, regardless of dependent status; 
• Insurance companies can no longer impose a lifetime limit on care; and  
• Health plans’ annual limits are phased out over three years. 

Consumers purchasing new plans will have the following additional protections:

• Patients will have the right to choose their own doctor;
• Preventive services, such as vaccinations, mammograms and colonoscopies, will be available without deductibles, co-payments or co-insurance;
• Patients will have the right to both an internal and external appeal of insurers’ coverage decisions; and
• Patients will have the right to access out-of-network emergency room care at in-network cost-sharing rates.

“We’re already seeing results of the new law take effect, including states opening high-risk insurance pools for people who have medical conditions that make it difficult to obtain coverage and the Federal government delivering ‘donut hole’ checks to seniors to help address the current coverage gap under the current Medicare prescription drug program,” said Crowley. “With today’s enactment of the Patient’s Bill of Rights, more Americans will soon receive the healthcare they need and deserve.”

Congressman Crowley is the six-term representative from the 7th Congressional District of New York, which includes sections of Queens and the Bronx. He sits on the powerful Ways and Means Committee which oversees health care.