Friday, December 21, 2007

Blue Shield Illegally Canceling Policies

Blue Shield Illegally Canceling Policies

Working Californians
The WC Blog
posted by Julia Rosen | 12.13.07
Illegally canceling health care policies is stock and trade for the industry. Their competitor Blue Cross was already fined $1 million by the state in March and Health Net faced a massive court case for doing the same thing. There are lots of reasons why our health care system is a mess and this is one of them. LAT:

California's top insurance regulator has accused Blue Shield, one of the state's largest health plans, of 1,262 violations of claims-handling laws and regulations that resulted in more than 200 people losing their medical coverage.

Calling the allegations "serious violations that completely undermine the public's trust in our healthcare delivery system and are potentially devastating to patients," Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner said he would announce today that he would seek a $12.6-million fine.
Each one of those cases is a person who had insurance and got sick. They filed for payments authorized by their coverage and Blue Shield said no and attempted to cancel their policies. These sick people then had to fight tooth and nail to get the payment to their doctors so they would not be liable for the bill. In over 200 of those cases they lost and the companies dropped them completely from coverage. Of course that means that they then have a pre-existing condition and thus would have a next to impossible time getting coverage from another company.

It is a disgusting practice that is all about trying to squeeze out a few more dollars in profits. It is illegal and I am glad to see the state launching the investigation and moving to fine them. It sure would be nice if that dissuaded the companies from trying this in the first place, but I don't hold out that much hope that it will.

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