Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Making money by denying care

Health insurance will win when you lose:
Altadena resident Mike Freas was twice rejected for health coverage by Anthem Blue Cross because of a preexisting condition, forcing him into a costly state-run program intended to serve as the insurer of last resort for people turned away by the private sector.

Yet now he finds himself in the strange position of sending Anthem a check for about $500 each month. Why? Because it turns out that Anthem Blue Cross also quietly serves as the administrator of the state insurance plan.

"Isn't that a conflict of interest?" Freas, 53, wanted to know. "By rejecting people for coverage who might cost them some money, but then running the state-subsidized program that these people have to go to, aren't they having their cake and eating it too?"

It sure looks that way.

"This is what happens when public programs get privatized," said Jerry Flanagan, who oversees healthcare issues for Consumer Watchdog, the Santa Monica advocacy group. "Insurers get a fee even after they issue people a denial."
Huffington Post Investigative Fund is asking for personal stories of denying claims:
Amid all the loud arguments about the proper role for government and private companies in American health care, one point often seems lost: Exactly how well – or badly – are private insurers handling claims in the existing system? Daniellle Ivory is uncovering some answers. But we also need you to help us investigate...
Rape victims are denied insurance:
Turner took preventative anti-HIV drugs to avoid the risk of contracting the disease; she sought counseling to deal with the fears she developed after her attack and for that she was punished with nearly three years sans health insurance – all because she took the necessary steps to take care of herself after suffering a heinous and inhumane attack. As Turner puts it, "I was punished for doing the right thing to take care of myself and my livelihood."

Denying rape victims health insurance is wholly unjust and will only further discourage victims from reporting crimes and seeking the medical attention they need. Fortunately, women like Turner are raising awareness about this injustice by sharing their stories and bringing the issue to the forefront.

You can do you part too by telling Congress we need health reform that works for women! Stand with millions of women across America who face discrimination and send your letter today!

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