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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Word of the Day - Recission - Russian Roulette With Your Life

There has been a lot of talk about "Obama Care" lately, with people on both sides of the issue.  However the story just published by Murray Waas in Reuters should scare you to death.

The story is about a two different women who discover each has breast cancer  Thereafter their insurance is promptly canceled due to "fraud."  The women paid their premiums on time.  Before they fell ill, neither had any problems with their insurance and initially believed their policies had been canceled by mistake.

As reported:

They had no idea that WellPoint was using a computer algorithm that automatically targeted them and every other policyholder recently diagnosed with breast cancer. The software triggered an immediate fraud investigation, as the company searched for some pretext to drop their policies, according to government regulators and investigators.

That "practice" is called Recission.  And it appears to be very wide-spread.  The report goes on to say:

That tens of thousands of Americans lost their health insurance shortly after being diagnosed with life-threatening, expensive medical conditions has been well documented by law enforcement agencies, state regulators and a congressional committee. Insurance companies have used the practice, known as "rescission," for years. And a congressional committee last year said WellPoint was one of the worst offenders.

Unfortunately even with new proposed health care legislation, this practice may not be over.  According to the report:

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.
If you think it can't happen to you, read the story of Patricia Reilling:

In April 2008, Patricia Reilling also was diagnosed with breast cancer. Anthem Blue Cross of Kentucky, a WellPoint subsidiary, paid the bills for a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery.

But the following January, after Reilling suffered a life-threatening staph infection requiring two emergency surgeries in three days, Anthem balked and refused to pay more. They soon canceled her insurance entirely.
Unable to afford additional necessary surgeries for nearly 16 months, Reilling ended up severely disabled and largely confined to her home. As a result of her crushing medical bills, the once well-to-do businesswoman is now dependent on food stamps.
Today she is on food stamps. She has taken her Social Security early, which means that when she is older, she will be eligible for fewer benefits. She buys clothes from consignment stores she once donated to. She recently got some part-time work as a copywriter, which she can do from home, but that barely pays for her drug prescriptions, let alone surgery.

Reilling waits hours to be seen by a doctor at a clinic, if she can be seen at all. "The thing I didn't understand about going poor is that your time no longer has value to others," she says.
What a sad statement about our society where we make people believe that "going poor (means) your time no longer has value to others."

There but for the grace of God go I.

Should our right to health care be dependent on a computer algorithm?


  1. It is so terrible, I just lost my mom to breast cancer. It was a horrible and tragic situation so the story really resonates with me. My mother was lucky enough to have insurance, but if she didn't it would have made the situation even worse. I did watch as others suffered and were not so fortunate as my mother. I pray for those without insurance.

  2. Why is it that women are seen as disposable? Do you hear about mean being denied? No. I am just a house-wife, but it makes me so mad!!!