Saturday, February 23, 2008

Canceling cancer patient's policy

Los Angeles Times reported One of California's largest for-profit insurers stopped a controversial practice of canceling sick policyholders Friday after a judge ordered Health Net Inc. to pay more than $9 million to a breast cancer patient it dropped in the middle of chemotherapy.... When Health Net dropped her in January 2004, Bates was stuck with more than $129,000 in medical bills and was forced to stop chemotherapy for several months until she found a charity to pay for it.... Earlier, Health Net had defended its actions, saying it never would have issued Bates a policy in the first place if she had disclosed her true weight and a preexisting heart condition on her application.
But they cancelled her for getting cancer, and being overweight and a heart condition are not risk factors for cancer.
Bates said a broker filled out the application while she was styling a client's hair on a busy day in her shop. She said she answered his questions as best she could. Bates said she already had insurance and wasn't in the market until the broker came by and told her that he thought he could get her a lower monthly premium if she switched to Health Net.
If you have a preexisting health problem it is not a good idea to change insurance companies, even to save money on the premiums.
At the arbitration hearing, internal company documents were disclosed showing that Health Net had paid employee bonuses for meeting a cancellation quota
Paying brokers to lre patients into changing insurance carriers and then paying people to find reasons to cancel their policy. This is what leads to so many being without insurance. They should require an insurance company to waive "preexisting conditions" if the customer is already insured, and the company wants their business.
and for the amount of money saved.

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