Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Two updates today

Kim Morris who runs the the Affordable Health Insurance Blog put up a link in my comments section:

A discussion of Massachusetts insurance law, which is really the underlying cause of the dispute, is omitted from this article. MedSave.com has received a number of inquiries on this issue that are addressed at http://medsave.com/healthinsurance/?p=363

Massachusetts Celticare protest triggers OnlineAdviser response

This week’s unique news events in Massachusetts put us in the unexpected position of explaining a few basic facts about Celticare, Celtic Insurance. and our role as an enrollment adviser for these health plans:

* Celtic Life Insurance Company is a private insurance company offering individual health insurance in most states throughout the U.S.
* The most popular and widely known brand name for Celtic Insurance is “Celticare”.
* OnlineAdviser supports Celtic Insurance enrollments through www.celticenrollment.com
* Massachusetts has a highly regulated health insurance market and is the only state that requires residents to purchase health insurance.
* Currently Celtic Insurance is not available in Massachusetts.
* A Massachusetts-based health plan administrator made arrangements to offer a Celticare health plan withing that state effective July 1, 2009. We covered this new insurance introduction in a blog post last month.
* Some health plans, including those in the state of Massachusetts, cover abortion as a medical procedure under some certain circumstances.
* The circumstances under which abortions would be a covered procedure are determined by state law and professional medical standards.
* Most individual health insurance policies (especially the low cost policies at MedSave.com and Celticenrollment.com) do not cover abortion, except as required by law.
* An insurance company has little, if any, authority in determining whether an abortion is a medical procedure which must be covered under a policy.
* Celticare’s Massachusetts health plans administrator has Catholic connections.
* Catholocs are rising strong protests to the Celticare health plan beginning July 1, 2009.
* The protests center on the inherent conflict-of-interest concerns by Catholics, and are not specifically directed at Celtic Insurance, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or Celticare Insurance.
* Celticare plan in Massachusetts will abide by state insurance law with regard to abortion coverage requirements, regardless of religious concerns of any affiliated party.
* The protest does not affect Celticare or Celtic Insurance plans in any other state.
* Our sole mission is to help people find affordable health insurance and in many cases Celticare provides an excellent choice of quality coverage at a fair price.
* OnlineAdviser is not, and will not be involved in any political or religious agenda or debate on this issue.
* Any other questions or comments may be addressed to onlineadviser@celticenrollment.com

Thanks Kim. As another posted has explained, for Catholics, the dispute is about the kinds of things done to the poor and the problems it creates for Catholic healthcare workers. We can't impose that the Commonwealth or insurance companies stop providing these moral evils - but we do have every right to block the Cardinal from forming an insurance company to provide these moral evils. We're advocates of affordable healthcare and we hope the Commonwealth appreciates the medical services we provide in all aspects of care that are consistent with our tenets to consider us a provider that primary care physicians can refer "to". There are Catholic physicians in every conceivable specialty. Any written assurances given to you by Caritas and approved by the Cardinal that Catholics could provide, refer or contract services Catholics consider moral evils is an impossible "assurance" to carry out.

Legislative Counsel for the ACLU is taking issue with the Cardinal's confusing statements that women will not be referred for abortions:
Caritas insurance plan calls for state scrutiny

The cardinal says that Caritas will not provide or refer patients for procedures prohibited by Catholic teaching. Abortion and sterilization are mentioned as prohibited services. If Caritas will be providing primary care services, we wonder what delays will result for those patients requesting contraception.

State law also requires that hospitals provide emergency contraception to rape victims. Is Caritas complying with that law? We urge the state to scrutinize the way this new plan actually operates. It should ensure that our taxpayer dollars are not supporting a company that, because of religious doctrine, places obstacles in the way of women and men who need reproductive healthcare.

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