Blue Cross agrees to cover some pre-existing conditions

n The insurer said the move will affect companies with 50 or fewer employees.
By Bobby Harrison
Daily Journal Jackson Bureau
JACKSON – Blue Cross amp& Blue Shield of Mississippi announced Friday that it would provide health care coverage of pre-existing conditions for the employees of small companies and for the employees’ covered dependents.
Normally most insurance companies do not cover pre-existing conditions for newly insured people for a year or more after coverage is obtained.
Legislation was introduced during the 2009 session to require health insurance companies to eliminate the exclusion for small companies, but it died without consideration by either chamber.
John Sewell, director of corporate communications for Blue Cross, said the company decided to remove the exclusion voluntarily. It will affect companies with 50 or fewer employees.
Sewell said in the seven-county region of Lee, Monroe, Pontotoc, Chickasaw, Prentiss, Union and Itawamba, Blue Cross covers 554 small businesses, consisting of 7,099 employees and their covered dependents.
In a news release, Blue Cross said the decision will help improve access to health care in Mississippi.
“Our commitment to a healthier Mississippi is built on a foundation of health and wellness, because we know from our own experience that a healthy lifestyle is a key factor in controlling health care costs,” Sewell said. “Removing this small employer exclusion for pre-existing conditions helps us all get one step closer to being as healthy as we can be.”
Sewell said the company still was evaluating the impact of removing the exclusion for larger employers. The exclusion for small employers will be removed June 1.
Gov. Haley Barbour praised Blue Cross in his State of the State speech for opting to remove the exclusion.
Contact Bobby Harrison at (601) 353-3119 or bobby.harrison@djournal.com.

Bobby Harrison