Of course, we’re all appropriately outraged by last week’s explosive news that WellPoint was actively targeting members who had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, with the intent to expose fraud and therefore have cause to cancel the women’s insurance policies.
However, it’s important (and fair) to note two things: WellPoint denies the allegations, and that while cringe-worthy, such rescission practices have been employed for years by health insurance carriers as a means to trim costs associated with the chronically and/or terminally ill.
And while the recently enacted Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act outlaws rescission, some experts are dubious.
"People have this idea that someone is going to flip a switch and rescission and other bad insurance practices are going to end," Peter Harbage, a former health care adviser to the Clinton administration, told MSNBC.com. "Insurers will find ways to undermine the protections in the new law, just as they did with the old law. Enforcement is the key."
And while the angel on one shoulder certainly hopes that the feds actively and effectively police insurers on rescission, the devil on the other slyly asks: Do we really want them to — especially since it likely will cause already unsustainable costs to increase further?
So, two questions for you to tackle in the comments:
1. What is the most cringe-worthy thing you’ve ever heard a carrier has done?
2. Would you ever support rescission, if it meant dramatically lowering (say, $1 million or more) your overall spending on health care benefits?
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