Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Great Health Insurance Coverage Debate

Health insurance providers have recently used the flimsiest excuse to deny coverage of their policyholders. Will proposed reforms finally end the injustice?

By: Ringo Bones

Ever since Rocky Mountain Health Plans managed to get themselves in hot water after denying coverage of one of Colorado’s youngest citizens. A four month-old infant, whom Rocky Mountain Health Plans point out as overweight. Thanks to extensive media coverage – thanks to the baby’s father being very influential in their local media / TV network – Rocky Mountain Health Plans later reversed their decision - Not to mention a doctor’s examination which later confirmed that the four month-old baby to have a normal body mass index.

Back in May 2008, a law was passed in the United States that prohibits the firing of employees and insurance providers choosing to hike insurance premiums if genetic testing reveals a certain employee or policyholder to have a higher health risk than the norm. From our perspective, the passing of this law - which the late, great Senator Ted Kennedy was one of the main proponents – might seem like the great health insurance coverage reform that will finally save us all. And also, the former US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was also very vocal on her campaign against any genetic testing that will be used to disadvantage any health insurance policy holder and employee. Especially if the test data could result him or her having to pay higher insurance premiums just to retain coverage or getting fired from the job due to being a “health risk”.

Unfortunately, unscrupulous health insurance companies – and their numbers are growing – have used the flimsiest excuses to deny their policyholders coverage. One of the flimsiest excuses getting media attention these days is the health insurance company claim – though not all of them fortunately – is that spousal abuse is a preexisting condition that could result in some policyholders a denial of coverage.

From overweight and underweight infants to spousal abuse, as 2009 draws to a close, we’ll probably be seeing more flimsy excuses that would be used by health insurance companies as a reason to deny coverage. Maybe one day, they’ll consider being too smart for your own good a preexisting condition thus leaving you high and dry in your time of need. I mean do we actually lose our value every time we see a doctor if health insurance providers consider us nothing more than “assets”?

No comments: