Monday, November 11, 2013

Insurance Companies Cancelling Healthcare Policies and Deceiving Their Customers

Who would have thought they might do this?

Yes, it's another slant on Obamacare, that insurance companies would cancel policies, then offer inflated ones without even telling their customers that they can find cheaper, better ones on the insurance exchanges, even ones from their own companies. Now we get the inside scoop on what's happening to those "grandfathered" health insurance policies:
“Blue Cross successfully enticed tens of thousands of its individual policyholders to switch out of their grandfathered health plans and forever lose their protected grandfathered status,” states the lawsuit. “Blue Cross concealed information about the consequences of switching plans and intentionally misled its policyholders to encourage the replacement of grandfathered policies.
Up to 900,000 policies have been cancelled in California alone. Meanwhile back in Kentucky, they've already fined Humana $65,000 for misleading information in their cancellation letters:
The Kentucky Department of Insurance has fined Humana $65,430 because it offered policyholders an unapproved opportunity to amend their insurance as part of a letter that regulators have called “misleading.”
The department investigated letters sent in August to 6,543 individual plan policyholders in Kentucky. The letters said they needed to renew their plans for 2014 within 30 days or choose a more expensive option that complies with the Affordable Care Act.
But regulators last month called the letters misleading, arguing they did not make sufficiently clear that policyholders could compare and choose competing plans on the state’s health insurance exchanges, which open on Oct. 1, and for which they could be eligible for federal subsidies.

Now surfaces a complaint in Georgia of Humana manipulating its customers by diverting them away from their own government health-exchange plans to more expensive ones. I can't verify this, but you can read about it here.

An earlier investigative report was published by Talking Points Memo about these fraudulent practices emerging well in advance of the Oct. 1st rollout:
Donna received the letter canceling her insurance plan on Sept. 16. Her insurance company, LifeWise of Washington, told her that they'd identified a new plan for her. If she did nothing, she'd be covered.
A 56-year-old Seattle resident with a 57-year-old husband and 15-year-old daughter, Donna had been looking forward to the savings that the Affordable Care Act had to offer.
But that's not what she found. Instead, she'd be paying an additional $300 a month for coverage. The letter made no mention of the health insurance marketplace that would soon open in Washington, where she could shop for competitive plans, and only an oblique reference to financial help that she might qualify for, if she made the effort to call and find out.
Otherwise, she'd be automatically rolled over to a new plan -- and, as the letter said, "If you're happy with this plan, do nothing."
If Donna had done nothing, she would have ended up spending about $1,000 more a month for insurance than she will now that she went to the marketplace, picked the best plan for her family and accessed tax credits at the heart of the health care reform law.
How much more of this fraud are we going to see before we realize that Barack Obama is not the one who should apologize for his "misleading statements?" I suspect a lot, though I don't expect the mainstream media to pick up on this story until they're led kicking and screaming to the truth by bloggers and other alt reporters. McClatchy's Kentucky paper linked above is an exception worth noting.

Also worth noting is the fact that, depending on the state or the circumstance, this behavior is not illegal or actionable in court. A business is not necessarily required to inform a customer that a rival has a better product or even that that very business has a better, less expensive product! Yay, free enterprise!

6 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I have suspected this to be the case since the first cancellation reports, but have seen nothing about it in 'the news'. Thanks for the information and the links--and the good work. Unfortunately, I use Google News, and they seem to be abetting CNN's full-court press on the ACA and on Obama. As always, bad or controversial news outsells good news and both outsell the truth.

    I don't understand Obama's unwillingness to push back. Call it a conspiracy to undermine the ACA, fraudulence, or profiteering--but call it out.

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    1. I've always felt that the unwillingness to push back stems from feeling that saying "It's not the way you think, it's like this..." will be taken as weakness, and I understand that with a media waiting to pounce with "the president is defensive, he better watch out, his poll numbers will plummet," that unwillingness might be wise. Or it comes from political advisers that think that way. "Don't push back, it'll make you look defensive," they say. Drives me crazy.

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  3. As an aside--

    It would be helpful if one could edit his posts during a short time period after posting. As a somewhat less than diligent proofreader, who is constantly amending (or trying to anyway) as I write, I don't always notice my errors until it's too late. Yes, I could delete (see above) the whole thing, but anytime I see "comment removed" I, as a reader, think the worst.

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    1. I understand. I don't operate the comments except for a few settings, ability to edit not being one. Sorry. Sites where I can view and edit comments before I post are always helpful.

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