Largest Health Insurer Cancels Cancer Patients

There is a huge amount of talk (containing very few facts) about the 2010 Health Care Reform Bill. Here we will to try to give facts about how this Bill affects you. This is also a place for people to give their opinions about how this Bill will affect them personally.
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Largest Health Insurer Cancels Cancer Patients

Postby Parquet » Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:15 am

I just read about this in the USA Today and it makes me so mad!

Report: WellPoint targets breast cancer patients for cancellation

WellPoint, the nation's largest insurer, has aggressively targeted women with breast cancer with the intent of canceling their health insurance policies, Reuters news service is reporting, citing federal investigators and regulators. The insurer has used a computer program to automatically trigger fraud investigations despite no evidence of wrongdoing.

The practice, called rescission, has been used for years to control costs and boost profits. Congress has cited WellPoint, which has 33.7 million policyholders, as being one of the worst offenders. The landmark insurance overhaul is supposed to end such practices, but critics say it lacks enforcement or regulatory powers.

Focusing on the cases of three women, Reuters writes, "Once the women were singled out, they say, the insurer then canceled their policies based on either erroneous or flimsy information."

Citing privacy laws, WellPoint said it would not comment on the women's specific cases without a signed waiver from them.

Reuters summarizes what the company said in a statement:
"WellPoint said various specified criteria trigger rescission investigations, including certain types of medical claims. The company said it changed its rescission practices to ensure they are handled appropriately after a 2006 review of its policies prompted by public concern over rescission.

WellPoint also said it created a committee that includes a physician for making rescission decisions. The company also noted that it established a single point of contact for members undergoing an investigation and enacted an appeals process for applicants who disagree with the original determination.

During the recent legislative process for the reform law, however, lobbyists for WellPoint and other top insurance companies successfully fought proposed provisions of the legislation. In particular, they complained about rules that would have made it more difficult for the companies to fairly -- or unfairly -- cancel policyholders."

WellPoint CEO and President Angela Braly "has earned plaudits for how her company improved the medical care and treatment of other policyholders with breast cancer," Reuters writes. She faced tough questioning in February when she testified at a congressional hearing on insurance reform legislation.

In a separate investigation recently, Reuters showed how Assurant Health similarly targeted HIV-positive policyholders for cancellation. Courts ordered the company to pay millions of dollars in settlements.

Your turn. Have any of you had your health insurance canceled for similar reasons?

I think the last question in the article is important. If cancer and HIV patients are being targeted then others may be too. Until the Health Care Reform Act kicks in then maybe smokers and overeaters should watch their backs.
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Re: Largest Health Insurer Cancels Cancer Patients

Postby jackjolly » Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:42 am

Insurance companies are more evil and Machiavellian than ever. It is called rescission when insurance companies dump people with serious illnesses off the insurance policy. WellPoint put profits over people and they will do anything to save a buck, even dumping a policy holder who is in the midst of a life threatening health crisis.
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Re: Largest Health Insurer Cancels Cancer Patients

Postby DennisQ » Tue Apr 12, 2011 1:04 pm

With the health care reform bill, will this be prevented from now on? I know insurance companies won't be able to turn someone down for a preexisting condition starting in 2014 but does this include what WellPoint was doing? Have any of the people filed a lawsuit against them for unlawful termination.
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Re: Largest Health Insurer Cancels Cancer Patients

Postby dlcnurse » Wed Apr 13, 2011 3:37 am

In April of 2010 Secretary Sebelius wrote a letter to Wellpoint encouraging them to stop this practice. The Affordable Care Act prohibits insurance companies from rescending polices except in cases of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of material fact. On April 27th of 2010, WellPoint annouced it will stop rescissions and will no longer engage in this practice. United also stopped recissions.
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