Saturday, February 23, 2008

Why We Need Single Payer, Universal Health Care


Health Net ordered to pay $9 million after canceling cancer patient's policy


One of California's largest for-profit insurers stopped a controversial practice of canceling sick policyholders Friday after a judge ordered Health Net Inc. to pay more than $9 million to a breast cancer patient it dropped in the middle of chemotherapy.The ruling by a private arbitration judge was the first of its kind and the most powerful rebuke to the state's major insurers whose cancellation practices are under fire from the courts, state regulators and elected officials.


Calling Woodland Hills-based Health Net's actions "egregious," Judge Sam Cianchetti, a retired Los Angeles County Superior Court judge, ruled that the company broke state laws and acted in bad faith."Health Net was primarily concerned with and considered its own financial interests and gave little, if any, consideration and concern for the interests of the insured," Cianchetti wrote in a 21-page ruling.Patsy Bates, a 52-year-old grandmother, was at work at the Gardena hair salon she owns when her lawyer William Shernoff called with the news. Bates said she screamed and thanked the lawyer.


At the arbitration hearing, internal company documents were disclosed showing that Health Net had paid employee bonuses for meeting a cancellation quota and for the amount of money saved."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," the judge wrote.


Situations where employees are rewarded for finding ways to cancel people's coverage ought never to be happening in this country. When are we going to acknowledge that access to health care is a right that everybody should enjoy...not just those who are employed at a company that offers health benefits????

2 Comments:

At 1:08 PM, Anonymous Alan said...

Is this the private insurance health care Republicans want to continue?

 
At 6:27 AM, Blogger Jeffrey Dach MD said...

The 800 Pound Gorilla in the Health Insurance Industry

A simple solution to end this health insurance abuse is have the states regulate the health insurance industry just like a public utility is regulated. This will rein in the obscene profits made by the insurance industry taking advantage of the vulnerability of sick Americans.

How does one deal with an eight hundred pound Gorilla that misbehaves and denies coverage for your medical bills?

Patsy Bates found out when a California court awarded her 9 million dollars for damages.

Her insurance carrier, Health Net cancelled coverage just when she needed breast cancer treatment.

Her lawyer, William Shernoff, not only read the book, he wrote the book: "Fight Back and Win: How to Get HMOs and Health Insurance to Pay Up".

Bravo for LA City Attorney Delgadillo and New York City Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for going after the health insurance industry for fraudulent practices such as cancellation for pre-existing conditions and underpayment for out-of-network doctor bills.

To read more:
Making Your Health Insurance Company Pay Up by Jeffrey Dach MD

Jeffrey Dach MD

my web site

 

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