Navigation Links
Consumer Watchdog Raises Concern That Health Policy Cancellation Rules Have Been Derailed in Deal With Kaiser
Date:5/15/2008

Sees Improvement But is Concerned About Loss of Legal Remedies

SANTA MONICA, Calif., May 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A settlement with Kaiser Permanente over more than 1,000 patients whose health coverage was retroactively cancelled is an improvement on past proposals because it acknowledges that patients can make claims for repayment of losses resulting from policy cancellations such as bankruptcy or loss of a home. In past proposals patients could not recover costs incurred after policies were wrongly cancelled.

However, Consumer Watchdog said that such a deal is no substitute for regulations promised 18 months ago by the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) which regulators said today will not be issued. Consumer Watchdog said that the Department appears to be trading away tough regulations for new legislation that is likely to favor insurance companies.

"Punting this issue to the legislature where insurers have immense lobbying power risks regulation that is more loophole than protection," said Jerry Flanagan of Consumer Watchdog. "The Department has both the ability and the responsibility to develop strong regulations that could be put into effect faster than legislation and provide immediate protection."

Consumer Watchdog also raised concerns that today's "voluntary settlement" with Kaiser stacked the legal deck against consumers whose policies were wrongfully cancelled by forcing them into mandatory arbitration, potentially limiting class action lawsuits, and by letting insurers off the hook for punitive damages.

Under the agreement with Kaiser, patients who paid more than $15,000 out-of-pocket for medical expenses resulting from policy cancellations, or who suffered other damages like bankruptcy, loss of a job or home, would have to submit to arbitrators chosen by the DMHC and Kaiser with no patient input. It appears that patients would have to pay for their own attorneys, which would be cost-prohibitive for most.

Patients who were retroactively cancelled -- in so called "rescissions" -- would be allowed to buy new coverage from Kaiser, without limitations due to their health conditions, and retain the right to take their cases to court. However, Consumer Watchdog said that patients with less than $250,000 in damages would have difficulty finding an attorney to take such a case. The fine print of the settlement would also create roadblocks to future class action lawsuits brought by those patients with smaller damage claims.

"The Department has clearly acknowledged the loss and harm to patients whose coverage was illegally and callously rescinded," said Flanagan. "However, many of these patients will likely face a cadre of Kaiser attorneys in a complicated and difficult closed-door arbitration where they have to act as their own lawyers. Kaiser should be required to pay the attorney fees of patients seeking redress for substantial past medical expenses and damages resulting from the loss of coverage."

Consumer Watchdog said the agreement only offered to "sell" new coverage to patients, not to "reinstate" former coverage which would have provided automatic recovery of medical costs rather than subjecting patients to a hostile arbitration.

The Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) previously granted Consumer Watchdog's petition for new rules to protect innocent patients from wrongful retroactive cancellations -- so-called "rescissions" -- in December 2007 but now is backing away from completing them.

Read Consumer Watchdog's 2006 petition calling for the new rules:

http://www.ConsumerWatchdog.org/resources/rescissionspetition.pdf

Read DMHC's December 2007 response granting that petition:

http://www.ConsumerWatchdog.org/resources/DMHCresponse.pdf

http://www.ConsumerWatchdog.org


'/>"/>
SOURCE Consumer Watchdog
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. IADR and GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare announce winners
2. Consumer Watchdog Warns HMO Regulator Not to Side With Insurers Over Illegal Coverage Cancellations
3. LIFE Foundation Launches Lifehappens.org to Help Consumers Make Smart Insurance-Buying Decisions
4. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois Names New Vice President, Local and Consumer Markets
5. Smart Balance to Webcast Presentation at Goldman Sachs Consumer Products Symposium
6. Nations First of its Kind Consumer Medication Return Initiative Creates Momentum for Safe Drug Disposal in the U.S.
7. A Statement from GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare on 2008 Update to the U.S. Public Health Service Guideline on Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence
8. Consumer Reports: Some Drug Prices Can Vary By $100 or More for the Same Bottle of Pills
9. State House Passes Bill to Help Consumers Struggling With High Summer Electric Bills
10. Whats Natural When it Comes to Personal Care Products? Consumers Finally Get Help with New Seal and Standard From the Natural Products Association
11. Consumers, Businesses, Unions, and Medical Professionals: Time for Congress to Act on E-Prescribing Legislation
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... Vegas, Nevada (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... 7® Hemp CBD Oil utilizing Purzorb™ technology. Applying the Purzorb™process to full spectrum CBD ... dose required and providing a CBD form that can be easily incorporated into liquid ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... , ... Lori R. Somekh, founder of the Law Office of Somekh ... law and special needs planning attorneys. “Membership in ElderCounsel helps our office remain up ... network with elder law attorneys nationwide,” said Somekh. , ElderCounsel was ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Many families ... However, many long-term care insurance companies have a waiver for care if the client ... elimination period, when the family pays for care, is often waived, so the benefits ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... 13, 2017 , ... Ellevate Network, the leading network for professional women, brought ... gender equality at their inaugural Summit in New York City in June. The event ... audience of over 3 million. To watch the Mobilize Women video, click here ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... Yisrayl Hawkins, Pastor and Overseer at The House of Yahweh, has released ... understood books in the Holy Scriptures, Revelation. The Book of Revelation paints a picture ... Many have tossed it off as mere rubbish, but Yisrayl Hawkins says that is ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... , Oct. 11, 2017  Caris Life Sciences ... on fulfilling the promise of precision medicine, today announced ... joined Caris, Precision Oncology Alliance™ (POA) as its 17 ... centers, the St. Jude Crosson Cancer Institute will help ... the use of tumor profiling, making cancer treatment more ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... , Oct. 6, 2017   Provista, a ... than $100 billion in purchasing power, today announced a ... information. The Newsroom is the online home ... trends, infographics, expert bios, news releases, slideshows and events. ... to a wealth of resources at their fingertips, viewers ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... 2, 2017 Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. (NYSE: ... and Consulting, LLC , and named its founder as ... in Tennessee , will operate under ... EnvoyHealth,s service offerings for health care partners to include ... "In an interoperable world, technology delivers ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: