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Insurers ready for Supreme Court ruling on health care

Several of the nation’s largest health insurers have said they will continue offering at least part of the health care benefits under the Obama administration health reform law, even if the Supreme Court strikes the law down.

But others aren’t saying what they plan to do until the Supreme Court rules on the so-called individual mandate, a central provision within President Obama’s health care law requiring that every American purchase health insurance. The Supreme Court could reach a decision as soon as Thursday.

United Health Group, Humana Inc. and Aetna Inc. are among those that have already said they will honor parts of the law, regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision.

On Wednesday, a spokesman for the Chicago-based Health Care Service Corp., whose Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois has nearly 7 million members, said they are awaiting a decision from the Supreme Court to determine their next move.

“As the Supreme Court considers the law, we are committed to helping our members have the greatest access to affordable, quality care,” spokesman Greg Thompson said.

Cigna also declined to comment before the court has ruled.

None of the continuing provisions will be free for consumers. Insurers have already factored them into the premium, or the cost of the insurance coverage.

UnitedHealth, the nation’s largest health insurer with 1 million members in Illinois among 35 million nationally, has said that, among other benefits, members will continue to receive preventive health care services without co-pays, including immunizations and screening for high blood pressure and diabetes.

Louisville-based Humana said in a statement it “believes its health plan members should have the peace of mind of knowing the company embraces and will maintain these common-sense provisions that add stability and security to health care coverage.”

Experts said they expect other insurers and large employers who provide coverage to take the same approach.

Contributing: Francine Knowles

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