Sunday, February 24, 2008

A health insurer gets its comeuppance

in this story, sent by a friend, about a judge who ordered punitive damages for an insurance company that dropped a breast cancer patient in the middle of chemotherapy.

I'm particularly obsessed with health insurance stories right now, having just heard that our family would not make it through medical underwriting now because our daughter had anorexia. This story has nothing to do with food, eating, or eating disorders, but it's just so damn gratifying to see a health insurance company get called on one of its many out-and-out exploitative practices.

I'm always amazed at how self-serving these companies are--and how they get away with it. So yay! for the good guys. And a big thank you to judge Sam Cianchetti, who did the Right Thing and who I hope will be rewarded for his good judgment somewhere, sometime.

Now if we could just send the CEOs of companies like Health Net to jail for doing stuff like this, I'd be a happy girl.


Anonymous said...

When I hear stories like these I think the only best of the worst scenarios is universal health coverage. Not universal health insurance. Insurance is, to me, a fancy form of gambling -- rich people gambling on only a certain percentage of people becoming ill, getting flooded, robbed or otherwise harmed. It's ghoolish. I would far prefer that a not-for-profit, transparent, accountable system exist that helps to keep people well, helps to detect diseases early, and get the best possible treatment to everyone, especially those who have "pre-existing conditions." I'm also an advocate of increased public funding for programs that provide physical activity opportunities and fresh, local foods to people who can't otherwise afford them.
In my opinion, no one needs health insurance -- we all need health coverage -- it's nothing to gamble on.
I know that there are problems with government-run health coverage -- but right now, the current U.S. system benefits the weathy and already well, and those who manage to have coverage through their jobs -- and pretty much screws over everyone else (except those eligible for Medicaid in the states that can afford it.) And don't get me started on Medicare. It's ridiculous that for most, preventive care for a disease like diabetes isn't covered (or covered enough), when proper care can prevent complications that shorten lives and cause quality of life to decrease.

Anonymous said...

I read about this story also and read a sidebar about the AG of the State of California which is suing the exact same insurance company on behalf of 1600 other people whose insurance was cancelled --- under a company "incentive program" whereby employees are rewarded by cancelling as many policies as they can. So, you see, it's a flaming company policy - we are not talking about a "one-off" circumstance (as horrific as it was) - we are talking about a company whose policy is to base employees' rewards on how many people they can hurt.

Harriet said...

I'm ALL ABOUT universal health care. I should hope to God whoever is elected President next does something about it.

Toby, I've heard stories like that too. How do these people sleep at night? The decision makers, I mean, not the poor shlubs who work there. They probably have their own problems.

Lindley said...

You have to wonder how these people sleep at night, and whether they have any souls left.

My husband randomly developed a seizure disorder a couple of years ago and we're struggling to pay off $15,000 in medical bills from his two days in the hospital. Since then we've thankfully both gotten insurance through jobs, but I live in fear that he'll somehow lose his insurance and we'll have to figure out how to pay for his $1600 A DAY seizure meds.

Something is obviously broken here.