Peru legislators debate law on pre-existing health conditions

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Peru's congressional economy committee met Wednesday to debate a proposed law that would require health insurance providers and employers who offer healthcare plans to extend that coverage to individuals regardless of any pre-existing health conditions.

The changes included in the proposed law extend to employees moving from one employer to another or from one health insurance provider to another.

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According to a statement released by congress, healthcare providers would also be required to inform the individual of any variation in the coverage or cost of the policy due to such a condition.

"Every insurance system should have the obligation to offer a viable product for continuity and coverage of pre-existing [conditions] and end the perverse game in which an entity does not want to approve coverage for a person due to the diagnosis made by another," said Eduardo Morón, the head of local insurers association (Apeseg), in a report from Entorno Inteligente in late October.

In the meeting Wednesday, legislator Jorge del Castillo Gálvez supported further expert opinion on the matter, including that of financial regulator (SBS). He also raised concerns over the availability of patient records and the potential of abuse regarding access to such personal information.

Del Castillo joined his colleague Miguel Torres Morales in seeking clarity with regards to potential lawsuits brought by individuals against their private pension fund administrator (AFP), specifically to ensure that the provider could not raise premium rates in retaliation.

The legislators agreed to postpone further debate to next Wednesday. However, steady discussion of the matter in recent months has added pressure to bring the initiative to a vote.

The statement did not offer details on the potential impact on Peru's insurance industry, should the initiative be passed.

In a tough year, falling private investment spurred a 4.4% drop year-on-year in insurance premiums in 3Q16, according to Apeseg. Unemployment insurance has also been examined this year, as the nation considers expanding options to protect Peruvian workers.