Legislation Seeks to Set $5 Million Floor on Lifetime Coverage Limits

By Staff Report

Jul. 29, 2008

Proposed federal legislation could prohibit employers from imposing a lifetime coverage limit of less than $5 million per employee.

Introduced July 17 by Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-California, the proposed amendment to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 would set the lifetime coverage limit at a minimum of $5 million for employees, an amount that would eventually go up to $10 million per employee.

The law would not apply to small employers with fewer than 20 employees.

Eshoo, who introduced the legislation with Reps. Jim Langevin, D-Rhode Island, Betty Sutton, D-Ohio, and Jason Altmire, D-Pennsylvania, said in a statement posted on her Web site: “As medical treatment costs continue to increase, the issue of lifetime insurance maximums will become even more important. My legislation will protect individuals who are struggling to pay for the expensive medical treatments that are a result of a disability or chronic illness.”

Health insurance lobbying group America’s Health Insurance Plans criticized the proposed legislation for recognizing only that costs were increasing without addressing ways to reduce health care costs.

—Jeremy Smerd


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