Health plan proposal has downside

October 23, 2009

A rule proposed in the health reform legislation would allow health insurers to sell plans across state lines.

One element of the pending health reform legislation from the Senate Finance Committee that has received some warm responses from both sides of the aisle is a rule that would allow health insurers to sell plans across state lines.

An influx of new health plans in a state could benefit practices shackled to one or two dominant health plans in their market, says Lori Heim, MD, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. However, under this new rule, insurers would be subject only to the regulations of the state where the policy is written or issued.

"There are some real potential downsides to this," Heim says. "If you look at what happened to credit cards, most of them come out of one or two states and the reason for that is those states have much more lax regulations."