AARP slams bill to loosen health law's rules on age rating

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The healthcare law says insurers can only charge older patients three times more than younger patients, but Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) introduced a bill this week to let insurers charge five times more — matching the limits in many states.

Gingrey's bill was designed to blunt the cost impact to young people (it's called the Letting Insurance Benefit Everyone Regardless of Their Youth Act, or Liberty Act). But the AARP says it would come at the expense of older patients.

“This proposal is a huge step backward in making health insurance affordable for all Americans," AARP said in a statement. "The Affordable Care Act limited how health insurers would be allowed to vary premiums based on age, ensuring that insurance companies stop the discriminatory practice of charging exorbitant premiums to older Americans."

The healthcare law also limits how much insurers can vary their premiums based on geography and current health. It prohibits plans from charging more to patients with a pre-existing condition.

“Any discrimination in private insurance — whether based on a person’s age, gender, ethnicity or medical history — is harmful to all Americans," AARP said of Gingrey's bill.