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At-risk health coverage

April 01, 2007

Re "Health insurance options dwindle for self-employed," March 27

This article illustrates the need for healthcare reform and points out the deficiencies in the current system. Thanks to The Times' research and comprehensive examination of the plight of these individuals affected by the erosion of benefits, I hope more Californians will feel the urgency in addressing this issue.

JEFF OKEY

\o7Senior media

\f7\o7relations associate

The California Endowment

Los Angeles

\f7*

I hope Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger reads this report about the effect of outlawing underwriting in California's market for association health plans a decade ago. Forbidding insurers to consider preexisting conditions supposedly protects those citizens. In fact, it victimizes everyone by allowing healthy people to wait until they get sick to apply for coverage. This causes a death spiral whereby healthy people quit association health plans and buy individual health insurance instead. Schwarzenegger wants to destroy the latter market too by imposing the same rule. Good health policy should encourage people to buy low-cost health insurance when they are young and healthy. The governor's plan does the opposite, and it will cause rate increases that will prove impossible for many to bear.

JOHN R. GRAHAM

\o7Director

\f7\o7Health Care Studies

Pacific Research Institute

San Francisco

\f7

*

Everywhere we turn, insurance options are becoming fewer. Nowhere is this more vivid than among the self-employed or those who work in nontraditional jobs. California should encourage more insurers to write policies via associations and protect those association plans that still exist. What actions from our Legislature or Department of Insurance would make association-based coverage more widely available or better protected? To reduce the number of uninsured in our state, we should stop adding to the number who are without coverage -- which is exactly what inaction or misguided action will do.

TERRY HAGAN

\o7Rancho Santa Margarita

\f7

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