Health insurers refuse to limit rescission of coverage

– There’s a lot that bothers me about health care coverage here in the U.S.A.  I’ve written several times on it:


– But I don’t think I’ve seen anything that irritated and angered me quite like the story below.

– Insurance industry executives saying in front of congress that they will do basically anything they can to drop folks who are insured – rather than paying their legitimate claims.  Unbelievable!

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cancelLawmakers ask three executives if they’ll stop dropping customers except where they can show “intentional fraud.” All say no.

Executives of three of the nation’s largest health insurers told federal lawmakers in Washington on Tuesday that they would continue canceling medical coverage for some sick policyholders, despite withering criticism from Republican and Democratic members of Congress who decried the practice as unfair and abusive.

The hearing on the controversial action known as rescission, which has left thousands of Americans burdened with costly medical bills despite paying insurance premiums, began a day after President Obama outlined his proposals for revamping the nation’s healthcare system.

An investigation by the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations showed that health insurers WellPoint Inc., UnitedHealth Group and Assurant Inc. canceled the coverage of more than 20,000 people, allowing the companies to avoid paying more than $300 million in medical claims over a five-year period.

It also found that policyholders with breast cancer, lymphoma and more than 1,000 other conditions were targeted for rescission and that employees were praised in performance reviews for terminating the policies of customers with expensive illnesses.

“No one can defend, and I certainly cannot defend, the practice of canceling coverage after the fact,” said Rep. Michael C. Burgess (R-Tex.), a member of the committee. “There is no acceptable minimum to denying coverage after the fact.”

The executives — Richard A. Collins, chief executive of UnitedHealth’s Golden Rule Insurance Co.; Don Hamm, chief executive of Assurant Health and Brian Sassi, president of consumer business for WellPoint Inc., parent of Blue Cross of California — were courteous and matter-of-fact in their testimony.

But they would not commit to limiting rescissions to only policyholders who intentionally lie or commit fraud to obtain coverage, a refusal that met with dismay from legislators on both sides of the political aisle.

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One Response to “Health insurers refuse to limit rescission of coverage”

  1. sam kohen says:

    In California aggressive lawyers have succeeded in ending this practice. That is the only way to stop this practice.