United Healthcare, the largest health insurance provider in the U.S., is expected to announce it will keep in place several of the key provisions of the Obama administration's 2010 health care overhaul law regardless of whether the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the legislation this summer.
The company will continue to provide customers with preventive health care services -- such as cancer screenings -- without co-payments or other out-of-pocket charges and allow parents to keep their adult children on their plans until age 26, according to The Washington Post, which reported United HealthCare will officially announce its decision on Monday.
In addition, it will also continue to observe the law's prohibition against lifetime limits on insurance payouts and rescinding coverage after a patient becomes ill, except in cases where a person is found to have intentionally lied on an insurance application.
The provisions are part of a section of the law that supporters have referred to as the Patient Bill of Rights. Those protections are popular with consumers, according to several public opinion polls, despite the partisan debate surrounding the constitutionality of the law, commonly derided by Republican opponents as ObamaCare.
The protections we are voluntarily extending are good for people's health, promote broader access to quality care and contribute to helping control rising health care costs, Stephen J. Hemsley, president and chief executive of United Health Group, said in a statement. These provisions are compatible with our mission and continue our operating practices.
UnitedHealthCare is the first private health care provider to publicly commit to leaving those provisions in place.
A company spokesman told The Washington Post that official chose to make the announcement now because people in this uncertain time are worried about what might happen to their coverage, and we think the time is right to let people know that these provisions will continue.
The announcement applies to the approximately 9 million U.S. consumers who receive health care coverage from United HealthCare either through personal or employer-sponsored plans.
The Supreme Court is expected to release its decision regarding the health care law by the end of June. However, the high court could also potentially delay action until after the law takes full effect, in 2014.
UPDATE: On Monday afternoon health insurance providers Aetna and Humana announced they will also uphold popular provisions of the healthcare overhual law, regardless of the Supreme Court's decision.