For the first time ever, private health insurance companies are offering to end the practice of charging higher premiums to people with a history of illness. That is, if all Americans are required to have health coverage.

In a letter to members of Congress, two industry groups indicated that their members would “phase out the practice of varying premiums based on health status in the individual market” if health coverage is mandated for everyone.

Such measures would affect the individual insurance market for those who do not receive employer-based health care. Currently about 7 percent of Americans purchase health coverage individually.

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The offer comes as Washington is attempting to reform the health care system. Already insurers have offered other concessions including ending the practice of refusing coverage to people who are already ill, reports The Associated Press.