Navigation Links
Most States Fail to Protect Consumers Against Insurance Company Abuses
Date:6/12/2008

First 50-State Survey of Insurance Commissioners Shows States Offer Few Protections against Common Insurance Company Abuses

WASHINGTON, June 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A 50-state survey, released today, reveals that insurance companies in most states are not prohibited from denying health coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, refusing to pay for services needed to treat common ailments, adding huge premium surcharges for people with family histories of health problems, and yanking policies and denying payments when consumers face a rash of medical bills.

The survey was released by Families USA, the national organization for health care consumers. It is the first 50-state survey of insurance commissioners that focuses on states' regulatory oversight of the individual health insurance market. That market is increasingly important as employer-sponsored health insurance declines and some elected officials promote its deregulated expansion.

The Families USA 50-state survey examined whether state safeguards exist in 14 categories of important consumer protections. The key findings include:

-- Only five states prohibit insurance companies from

"cherry-picking" the healthiest consumers and excluding

everyone else from coverage.

-- In 35 states and the District of Columbia, there are no limits on how

much insurers can raise premiums based on an individual's health

status. An additional six states have limits that still allow dramatic

variations in premiums.

-- In 21 states and the District of Columbia, insurers can exclude coverage

for pre-existing conditions, such as cancer and heart ailments, for more

than one year.

-- In 44 states and the District of Columbia, insurers can revoke an

individual's health insurance policy without advance review by the

state.

-- In 29 states and the District of Columbia, insurers are allowed to deny

legitimate claims of policyholders who are up-to-date with their premium

payments by digging back years into their medical history and alleging

that they failed to disclose, or should have known about, a pre-existing

condition.

-- In 45 states and the District of Columbia, insurers do not have to spend

at least 75 percent of premium revenues on health care, which allows

insurers to retain those revenues for profits and non-health care

expenses (such as marketing).

-- In 20 states and the District of Columbia, insurers can set and raise

premiums without meaningful oversight.

"The individual health insurance market is still the wild, wild west for America's health care consumers," said Ron Pollack, Executive Director of Families USA. "It is a market with many abuses and with far too few state-level consumer protections."

"There are two important lessons to be learned from this survey," said Pollack. "First, the individual health insurance market has many more abuses than the group coverage market. Second, the federal government should establish some meaningful protections that would apply nationwide and that would curb the most common and harmful abuses by insurance companies."

"I have zero tolerance for health insurance abuses," Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said today. "Working closely with healthcare advocates, I strongly and successfully advocated a complete ban against abusive insurance rescissions -- returning health care decisions to patient and doctor, where they belong, away from insurers and bureaucrats.

"States must form a unified front to hold insurers accountable, so they keep their promises of coverage," Blumenthal said. "My office has fought for thousands of Connecticut citizens over recent years -- patients unfairly and unconscionably denied coverage, often for necessary life-saving treatment for catastrophic illnesses. I will continue this aggressive fight to protect patients and reform the health insurance system."

"The individual insurance market regularly fails people battling cancer and those with a history of cancer," said Daniel E. Smith, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. "This report highlights the difficulties that consumers with preexisting conditions and other medical problems often face when shopping for health insurance, and calls out the importance of improving access to quality, affordable health care for all Americans."

Some elected officials propose to reduce employer-sponsored health coverage and replace it with a more deregulated individual insurance market. This, according to Pollack, would be a big step backwards for health care consumers.

"Moving people from employer-sponsored group coverage to individual insurance, especially in a more deregulated context, would make a bad situation worse for health care consumers," said Pollack. "It would mean that more and more consumers would fall prey to abusive practices of too many insurance companies."

The findings in the Families USA report are based on a survey of all state insurance departments, as well as a compilation of the laws that each state has in place to protect health care consumers.

Families USA is the national organization for health care consumers. It is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that advocates for high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans.


'/>"/>
SOURCE Families USA
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. American Red Cross Responds to Floods and Tornadoes in Central United States
2. CMS Selects Thomson Reuters to Help Detect Medicaid Fraud in Eight States
3. Walgreens to Pay $35 Million to U.S., 46 States & Puerto Rico to Settle Medicaid Prescription Drug Fraud Allegations
4. Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Hosts Quality Improvement Summit - Caregivers from 15 States and Canada Gather in Hartford for Intensive Learning
5. States Scorecard Finds Big Differences in Kids Health Care
6. Denver Schoolteacher to Climb Summits of 50 States in 50 Days
7. New CDC Study Shows Smoke-Free Laws Spreading Across U.S. and Should Spur Remaining States to Take Action
8. GREAT STRIDES Walks for Cystic Fibrosis Slated for 47 States This Weekend
9. New United States Postal Service stamp honors an American scientist
10. Dr. Said Hakki, President of Iraqi Red Crescent Organization, in the United States and Available for Interviews May 12-16
11. NAMI Honors Exemplary Psychiatrists: 30 Doctors From 21 States
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... CitiDent ... sleep apnea using cutting-edge Oventus O2Vent technology. As many as 18 million ... by frequent cessation in breathing. Oral appliances can offer significant relief to about ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... IsoComforter, Inc. ... products, announced today the introduction of an innovative new design of the shoulder pad. ... so you get maximum comfort while controlling your pain while using cold therapy. By ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... drug delivery system that we intend to develop to enable prevention of a ... lead to severe hearing loss, especially in pediatric patients. For cisplatin, hearing loss ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Leading pediatric oncology experts at Children’s National ... 49th Congress of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP) Oct. 12-15. ... for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s National, and Stephen P. Hunger, M.D., ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Health Literacy Innovations ... literacy software tool, and the Cancer Patient Education Network (CPEN), an independent professional ... announce a new strategic alliance. , As CPEN’s strategic partner, HLI will ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... , Oct. 10, 2017  NDS received FDA 510(k) clearance in ... medical-grade battery-powered display stand specifically designed for endoscopy environments. An innovative ... into a clinical solution to support the improvement of patient outcomes, ... Design ... Solution ...
(Date:10/4/2017)... Mass. , Oct. 4, 2017  According to the Centers for ... the end of October . PhysicianOne Urgent Care is helping communities across ... Westchester, NY , by offering no-cost* flu shots through the ... as mandated by certain health insurance regulations. ... The best time to get a flu shot is by the ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... 2, 2017 Halo Labs announces the European launch of ... the HORIZON at MIBio 2017 in Cambridge, U.K ... particulate matter in biopharmaceutical samples with unprecedented speed and sensitivity while ... technique Backgrounded Membrane Imaging. ... HORIZON subvisible particle analysis system ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: