Del. Chief Hails Anti-Fraud, Med Mal Bills; Vows Retry on Credit Score Ban

July 6, 2006

According to Insurance Commissioner Matt Denn, the 2006 Delaware General Assembly session produced some positive accomplishments, but also left some of what he says are his pro-consumer initiatives undone.

“There are a few we won and a few we didn’t,” Denn said after the adjournment of the General Assembly. “I’m proud that some of my initatives will reduce the number of young people without health insurance, help fight insurance fraud and hopefully reduce health care costs by making malpractice insurance more affordable for doctors.”

But Denn said he was disappointed that measures to control the cost of health insurance and restrict the use of credit scoring were stopped. “But we will be back,” he vowed.

Among the initiatives passed this year:

• House Bill 446 requiring that health insurance carriers offer parents the option of purchasing insurance for their adult children through the age of 24, a move that should reduce the very high rate of young adults without health insurance. H.B. 446 also addresses the problems that led to “Michelle’s Law” in New Hampshire, inspired by a college student who died of cancer at age 22 after being told she could not stay on her parents’ health insurance unless she remained a full-time student.

• Senate Bill 256, creating a reward program in Delaware for tips that lead to civil convictions in insurance fraud cases.

• Low-cost loans funded in the state budget to create new medical malpractice insurance companies to Delaware, thereby addressing what doctors call one of the main drivers of high medical costs.

“These are good bills that, combined with bills passed in 2005 to increase penalties on insurance companies that mistreat their customers and to reduce uninsured motorists by seizing license plates from uninsured vehicles, means that the 143rd General Assembly has had more pro-consumer insurance legislation passed than any legislative session in memory,” said Denn, who took office in January 2005.

Bills that were bottled up in the General Assembly include: creating a health insurance pool that would have reduced the cost of health insurance for some families and small businesses; allowing the Insurance Department to review and reject health insurance rates that were too high; restricting the use of credit scoring in auto, homeowner and other types of insurance; and acting to keep obstetrician-gynecologists from leaving practice because of skyrocketing malpractice insurance costs.

“These are bills that were not even allowed to have a vote in the House of Representatives because they were stopped by powerful insurance lobbyists in Dover,” claimed Denn.

Source: Commissioner Denn’s Office

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