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Consumers, Nurses, Seniors Tell Governor: Don't Break Your Promise to Protect Innocent Patients from Health Insurance Cancellations, Don't Weaken Existing Law
Date:8/7/2008

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nurses, consumers, and seniors called on the legislature and the governor today to include a key provision to protect innocent patients in any health insurance cancellation legislation forthcoming in the closing days of the legislative session.

Over the last 5 years, California patients have been plagued by the practice of insurance companies retroactively canceling health insurance coverage after they get sick - so called "rescissions" - leaving patients without health care when they are sick and need it most. Cancelled patients are virtually uninsurable and often hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt while facing ongoing medical treatment.

"RNs see the damage done to patients every day by insurance companies," said Malinda Markowitz, RN and member of the council of presidents of the California Nurses Association. "Insurance companies should not be allowed to cancel the health care of innocent patients and the legislature should not allow the Governor to water down existing law to benefit his largest contributors."

In 2007, Governor Schwarzenegger's Administration promised to protect innocent patients from rescission in new regulations. Those regulations have stalled. Now, the governor's office has drafted legislative language that retreats from that promise and that would weaken existing law. The governor's bill would repeal the ban on "post-claims underwriting" in Health & Safety Code Section 1389.3 which bars health insurers from rescinding or limiting a policy in anyway after a patient gets sick unless the insurer can show that the patient "willfully misrepresented" a material health fact on their enrollment application.

Download the governor's bill here: http://www.ConsumerWatchdog.org/resources/Gov.pdf

Given the extreme hardship placed on patients whose coverage has been retroactively
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SOURCE Consumer Watchdog
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