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Hazardous Health Plans: Consumer Reports Investigation Finds Serious Gaps in Individual Health Insurance Policies
Date:4/6/2009

Insurance Loopholes and Limits can Leave Consumers with Huge Medical Debts; Consumer Reports Offers Tips on How People can Protect Themselves

YONKERS, N.Y., April 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new Consumer Reports investigation finds that many people who believe they have good health insurance actually have coverage so riddled with loopholes, limits, and exclusions that it won't come close to covering their expenses if they fall seriously ill. The full report is available in the May 2009 issue of Consumer Reports and online www.consumerreportsenespanol.org. The report includes a table listing the staggering treatment costs of many common conditions, leading off with late-stage colon cancer at $285,946.

At issue are so-called individual plans that consumers sometimes get on their own after losing their jobs or if they are self-employed. An estimated 14,000 Americans a day are losing their job-based coverage, cites Consumer Reports, and many may be considering individual insurance for the first time in their lives.

"Individual insurance has become a nightmare for consumers," says Nancy Metcalf, senior program editor at Consumer Reports. "It's expensive and difficult to get for people who have a less-than-perfect medical history. And people who do purchase a policy often don't understand what they've bought until it's too late and they're faced with hospital bills that their plan won't pay."

One couple, Janice and Gary Clausen of Audubon, Iowa, told Consumer Reports that they expect to be paying off medical debt for the rest of their lives because they didn't realize how much treatment can cost. The United Healthcare limited benefit plan they bought through AARP proved hopelessly inadequate after Gary Clausen received a diagnosis of colon cancer. His treatment cost well ov
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SOURCE Consumer Reports
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