A terrible crime is being committed against the American public: recission. This is when a private insurance company revokes your policy because of some technicality (whether real or fabricated). And what do you know, this tends to happen right after you’ve been diagnosed with a major illness!
Thake the case of Jerome Mitchell, 17 year old college student who found out he tested HIV positive when he donated blood. Here’s what happened:
Before the cancellation of the policy, an underwriter working for Fortis wrote to a committee considering whether or not to rescind his policy: “Technically, we do not have the results of the HIV tests. This is the only entry in the medical records regarding HIV status. Is it sufficient?” The underwriter’s concerns were ignored and the rescission went forward.
In the ruling, Chief Justice Jean Hoefer Toal wrote: “We find ample support in the record that Fortis’ conduct was reprehensible … Fortis demonstrated an indifference to Mitchell’s life and a reckless disregard to his health and safety.” (from article on Huffington Post, link below)
And then there’s Patsy Bates, a grandmother and salon owner, who had her policy cancelled while she was undergoing chemotherapy. It was several months before she was able to resume treatment. Wonder what happened to her cancer during that time?
An investigation this summer by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and earlier ones by state regulators in California, New York and Connecticut, found that thousands of vulnerable and seriously ill policyholders have had their coverage canceled by many of the nation’s largest insurance companies without any legal basis. The congressional committee found that three insurance companies alone made at least $300 million over five years from rescission. (ibid, emphasis mine)
….evidence emerged that Health Net had paid bonuses to employees to reward them based on the number of policyholders they had rescinded. The judge who awarded Bates the $9 million said in his decision: “It’s difficult to imagine a policy more reprehensible than tying bonuses to encourage the rescission of health insurance that keeps the public well and alive.”
Why would anyone have such blatant disregard for human life? Because their mission is profit, that’s why. And that’s what the insurance business is about anymore — it’s not about providing insurance, it’s about making money. What is a private company’s motivation to actually provide the benefits you’ve been paying for?
I don’t begrudge any hardworking capitalist his due, but there are some things where the profit-model is inappropriate. No one should benefit from the sickness and death of others. And while our Government has its share of corruption, at least it is beholden to the voters, not its shareholders. If we as citizens have the good sense to wake up and hold our government accountable, then maybe we have a chance at an honorable health care system. One thing’s for sure: it will never happen under private insurance.
Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/17/insurance-company-must-pa_n_289841.html