Health Care Excuses And The Reality Of Lost Coverage

Paul Krugman’s column lists some of the common excuses conservatives use to argue against taking action against the problem of millions of Americans being unable to obtain health care coverage. They use a variety of arguments to deny there is a problem. Most who use such arguments probably currently have what they believe is good coverage and therefore they do not see a problem.

There is a word for many people who believed they had good health care coverage before they became seriously ill and required insurance coverage. That word is bankrupt. Many people who become ill receive coverage without problems, but unfortunately many others do not. The Los Angeles Times looks at how one health insurer paid bonuses to employees for dropping the coverage of those who filed expensive claims:

One of the state’s largest health insurers set goals and paid bonuses based in part on how many individual policyholders were dropped and how much money was saved.

Woodland Hills-based Health Net Inc. avoided paying $35.5 million in medical expenses by rescinding about 1,600 policies between 2000 and 2006. During that period, it paid its senior analyst in charge of cancellations more than $20,000 in bonuses based in part on her meeting or exceeding annual targets for revoking policies, documents disclosed Thursday showed.

The revelation that the health plan had cancellation goals and bonuses comes amid a storm of controversy over the industry-wide but long-hidden practice of rescinding coverage after expensive medical treatments have been authorized.

These cancellations have been the recent focus of intense scrutiny by lawmakers, state regulators and consumer advocates. Although these “rescissions” are only a small portion of the companies’ overall business, they typically leave sick patients with crushing medical bills and no way to obtain needed treatment.

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