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Consumer Watchdog Urges White House To Reject Waivers for “Junk” Health Insurance Plans and Require Public Postings

Posted Oct 08 2010 5:01pm

Making the terms pubic is really not a bad idea and something I think could be made publicly easily in this day of transparency.  The other matter addressed in this article is about an insurer who is a known problem and is asking for a waiver so it appears now we are down to who can get one and who can’t, and probably who will file a lawsuit if they are denied and feel discriminated against.  That seems to be the way this stuff works.  image

When you read below about the people who bought an additional rider for chemo therapy and still had mountains of bills that it would not cover, did we make any progress here?  I know this is one case but if it’s your case, it matters. 

There’s lot of insurance available out there but we have only one life. 

In looking back I wonder if we would have had all this trouble and bureaucratic mess if we had the “public” plan that we all wanted in place?  It does you stop and think as there might have been a little more balance and given the government an opportunity to build some Health IT infrastructure of their own at the same time. 

I understand the process of spreading the expense on insurance and the need to cut costs but hopefully we are cutting where care doesn’t suffer but in healthcare it has been a history of pretty much cutting where they can without a lot of notice and much of which operates in the background until it gets big one day.  We had health insurance companies make record profits this year and during the recession when people were losing jobs and it doesn’t set well with consumers. 

These 2 posts below kind of tell you what we are dealing with when it comes to health insurance companies and why they look so ill in the public eye, arrogance and greed and yet want to be seen as the good guys all the time?

UnitedHealth Shareholders Say We Don’t Care What Executives Earn and What Is Spent on Lobbying – Go For It

You end up with this pseudo relationship that is sick in concept and yet we are stuck with it as the only political game in town without a real single pay plan.  The “junk” folks with today’s data methodologies too can hide in the background for a long time and whittle away at dollars until something big happens and someone dies or makes the evening news.  BD

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Consumer Watchdog called on President Obama to reject waivers requested by junk health insurance plans, including one that left Dana Christensen with $450,000 in medical debt, that would allow them to evade minimum benefit requirements under the federal health reform law.

The New York Times reported yesterday that HealthMarkets, which sells insurance through MEGA Life and Health, is among the companies seeking waivers to continue selling limited-benefit policies under the federal health reform law.

Dana Christensen was left with $450,000 in medical bills when her husband Doug died of bone cancer and their MEGA policy did not cover his treatment. The Christensens had even purchased a special rider for chemotherapy, but it paid only $1,000 a day while chemotherapy cost up to $18,000 a day. On his deathbed, Doug asked Dana to divorce him so she would not be responsible for the bills. She refused. Read the Christensens' story: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/patients/articles/?storyId=13540 .

Consumer Watchdog called on the Department of Health and Human Services to require employers and insurance companies that it has already granted waivers to make public the terms of their limited-benefit policies and the data showing health insurance premiums will increase without the exemption.

Employers argue that limited-benefit policies are better than no insurance, but because employees don't understand how bad the insurance is, they may receive tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills before realizing they're not covered, said Consumer Watchdog. Temporary exemptions on an employer-by-employer basis may be called for, but no insurance plan should get a blank check to evade the law, said the group.

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