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Health care reform: No health insurance rescissions

It used to be that an honest mistake could cost you your health insurance coverage. Under the new Affordable Care Act, this is no longer the case.

Effective Sept. 23, 2010, health insurance companies are no longer allowed to rescind coverage due to mistakes or accidental omissions on applications, like forgetting about that case of tennis elbow in 1990, or the strange, brief rash in 2005. The law applies not only to individuals filling out their own health insurance applications, but also to people filling out a form for someone else, such as their family or a group of employees.

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This new rule applies to both group plans and health insurance for individuals, for plans issued on or after Sept. 23, 2010.

The only circumstances under which an insurer can rescind coverage are cases of fraud – such as outright lying about your health condition on your application. If you insurer suspects fraud or misrepresentation, you may appeal the insurer's decision to pull your coverage and keep your plan pending that appeal. Health care reform also includes a new advance-notice regulation that says coverage may not be cancelled without prior notice, and you must get a 30-day advance to allow for appeal or time to find a new health plan.

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