New S.C. Law Protects Choice Of Doctor For Seriously Ill
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolinians with serious medical conditions get a new benefit Saturday with a health insurance law that bars insurers from charging them more for at least 90 days when they drop doctors from their provider networks.
Health insurers will be required to continue coverage for several months for serious conditions such as cancer, heart disease and pregnancy at no extra cost when their in-network doctors drop out of an insurer’s network. The in-network coverage lasts for 90 days or until the end of the policy’s term, and during that time the insurer cannot impose higher deductibles or premiums. It affects all group or individual health insurance policies in the state.
The bill was pushed by the late state Rep. Cathy Harvin, a Summerton Democrat who died from complications of breast cancer Dec. 4, and was supported by the South Carolina Medical Association. Harvin’s colleagues said doctors being dropped from health insurer’s networks sometimes made Harvin’s own cancer fight more expensive.
“She was penalized because of those very issues,” said Sue Berkowitz, executive director of the advocacy group South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center.
That personal experience drove Harvin to push the legislation, said House Democratic Leader Harry Ott of St. Matthews.
Under current law, consumers can pay higher deductibles and out-of-network charges when an insurer and doctor part ways and the patient wants to continue seeing the same care provider.
Berkowitz said people are caught in the middle. “Why should you be penalized because the insurance company doesn’t want to pay the doctor the rate he says he needs to operate his business?” she said.
Filed under: In the news | Tagged: 90 days, BlueCross and BlueShield of South Carolina, Dr. Greg Tarasidis, health insurance law, in-network coverage, Jim Ritchie, Rep. Cathy Harvin, Rep. Harry Ott, Sen. Kevin Bryant, South Carolina, South Carolina Alliance of Health Plans, South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center, South Carolina Medical Association, Sue Ber | Leave a Comment »