Health Care

WellPoint and Blue Shield to Stop Health Policy Recensions

Since 2004, at least 5,000 Californians
had their insurance policies rescinded by the state’s five largest health insurers — Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield, Health Net, Kaiser and PacifiCare, according to the LA Times.

Insurers have defended rescissions [cancellations of policies], saying they were trying to stop fraud. But a series of Times articles, legislative hearings, lawsuits and regulatory investigations showed that insurers often rescinded without regard for whether their customers intended to deceive them about preexisting conditions on their applications for coverage.

And the recissions, as they are called, somehow magically occurred when the policy holder got seriously ill—and needed insurance desperately.

Two major California-based insurers, however, have publicly announced that they are stopping the practice It would be nice to think that the companies suddenly developed consciences (now that corporations are people too), but the reality is they realized they had little choice, so got religion, so to speak.

Here’s what the LA Times said.

Stung by criticism and facing tougher federal regulation, two of the nation’s largest health insurers say they will stop the practice of dropping sick policyholders.

The moves Tuesday by WellPoint Inc., the parent of Anthem Blue Cross of California
, and Blue Shield of California follow action by Congress and the Obama administration to crack down on the practice known as rescission.

WellPoint Chief Executive Angela Braly said in a statement that the company’s “goal is to make reform work for our members and for the country.”

(You remember WellPoint, right? Those nice people who flagged the policy of every woman diagnosed with breast cancer in order to sift through her paperwork for a reason to rescind her coverage—and recently got publicly called out on their evildoing by Reuters. But, hey, whatever it takes.)

Read the rest. (It gets juicier.)


On Wednesday morning, the US Supreme Court is believed to be planning to hand down rulings in cases Graham and Sullivan, the two big juve LWOP Eighth Amendment cases from Florida.

I will update you when the info is out.

NOTE: Light blogging because the Society of Professional Journalists award dinner was last night—complete with a bunch of my wonderful Annenberg students showing up as a surprise. (And now I’m reviewing student papers for the last class of the semester. )

Back soon.


  • Please, Celeste. The picture. Grandmothers?! I know the internet must be a very difficult place to find pictures of women with bare chests, but couldn’t you do better than that? Now, I think it might be a while before I feel well enough to comment on the subject. I wonder if my insurance will cover the stomach medicine.

  • That’s unbelievably creepy, Woody. Are you saying that women past a certain age are disgusting? Are men past a certain age disgusting or just women? Or is it just that woman’s body is disgusting if she is past a certain age?

    Does that judgment extend to your wife? Yourself, presuming that you’re not a young man? Your daughter when she gets a older?

    “I wonder if my insurance will cover the stomach medicine.” Would you want those words turned on you? Your daughter?

    These are not amusing jokes.

    By the way, the woman on the left, whose face you can’t see, looks to be in her 20’s or early 30’s.

    And, yes, in Future WLA world, this sort of thing would get you tossed off the site.

    It’s going to be a fascist universe.

  • It’s just that I didn’t choose to see some grandmother’s breasts when I opened your site. But, as men age, they look more distinguished, or so I’m often told.

    If that comment would get me banned, I’m short for the world here. Some people are too sensitive or need to see their insurance companies about hormone adjustments.

  • Well, work at it, Woody. I enjoy your presence. But I want a different kind of forum than we’ve had in the past. If you want to participate, you can add a great deal. If you don’t—as we say in preschool—you’re the boss of you.

    I recommend reading both of your comments back to your daughter, wife or another woman whom you care for and trust and asking for constructive feedback.

  • Still being in the workforce I naturally dread Mondays. This particular Monday I dread compoundreadly. Give us a hint, Celeste. Will jackbooted thugs freeze my keys, paralyze my digits? How can I enjoy the upcoming weekend not knowing whether my soma will be adulterated? Oh that’s the ticket! You plan to adulterate all us chillen.

  • GJ, Sadly I don’t know any jackbooted thugs. Okay, persons of the formerly thuggish persuasion, I suppose. But no jackboots are involved. Different footwear. Does that help?

  • Out here the colloquial reference to your Monday move would be: “To put a boot up our ass”. Since you abide in more civilized locales Timberlands would be acceptable. I’m resting easier. Thank you for the clarification.

  • I’d like to see the list of commenting rules before Monday. In fact, Celeste, why don’t you post them before they go into effect so that we can discuss them without fear of violating one of the provisions, whose interpretations will be who knows what. I know what one will be – every comment must be politically correct.

  • I’m a little worried that Celeste is going to get Michael Turner to call out the 13th Div. Keyboard Kommando’s on us.

  • Since I’ve only been tossed from radically leftist blogs and Charles Johnsons LGF and since Celeste always sends me hugs and kisses (xoxo) in her emails, I have NO FEAR about coming back. It will be an interesting experiment in blogging.

  • I’m thinking the personal jabs that she’s railed about continuously will be a factor, but obviously she’s enlisted the aid of more elite cybernauts. This isn’t the first blog comments I’ve seen gone to shit because of over-zealous cat and mouse skullduggery. Joe Mailander had one that comes to mind: Street Hassle, but it suffered from too many egos flaunting their vocabularies. Joe had immensely less tolerance than Celeste has shown, went to moderation early on then just threw in the towel. Couldn’t blame him.

    Being a blog author yourself,Woody I’m pretty sure you’d hate to have your “baby” roughed up or your “guests and friends” disrespected to where a genuine foodfight ensues everytime you post good info. Not that you always do of course. heh heh. Which brings me to a quandary, you mentioned earlier that you considered yourself a “moderate”.. I always identified that way, now I maybe need to research the term.

  • Any chance you could install a dartboard with selectable avatars on the sidebar so we can throw virtual darts rather than verbal ones?

  • On the topic at hand, I hold no love for insurance companies, but they couldn’t drop insureds who provided complete and accurate applications in the beginning, which they said that they were doing by their signatures at the bottom of the applications.

    It’s too much work for an insurance company to go through and verify all the information that is given to them for the purposes of a quote and coverage. So, it only makes sense for them to thoroughly investigate just those policies in which significant claims may be made or on those in which a reported medical problem would indicate a previously existing condition.

    It’s up to the insured to follow the rules. Don’t always assume that the company is wrong. Contracts are supposed to mean what they say.

  • Mrs. Pokey was working full time at a mega international corporation. She was diagnosed with breast cancer and went thought two operations, chemotherapy and radiation.

    Later that the same company (where we met at the blood drive) laid us both off, which put us on cobra for six months.

    After the six months we obtained assigned risk insurance (only available in California) for triple what we had been paying. This rate seemed to go up each and every month until I got a job and new insurance.

  • Every Mrs. Pokey goes in for an annual Mammogram which is covered by my insurance. Each year the insurance company (Blue Cross – Wellpoint) refuses to pay for the annual Mammogram because the doctor asks to me notified immediately if there are any abnormalities.

    I have come to the conclusion long ago that without strict laws corporations will do what is best for them and not for their customers.

  • In May 2008, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) was put into law.

    GINA specifically prohibits issuers of health insurance (including group, individual and Medicare supplement policies) from using genetic information to:

    • establish eligibility, contribution amounts and premium fees;
    • specify the conditions of the policy;
    • impose a preexisting condition exclusion. 5, 6

    This was a good first step, but what should have been passed was a law preventing any pre-existing conditions from being used by insurance companies especially if you have been carrying insurance all along.

  • Wow, I’m sorry, Pokey. You found yourself in an insurance hell, which has its roots going back to the 1950’s.

    Decades ago people either paid their own medical expenses or carried private medical insurance. After the war, companies needed hiring incentives to get the best workers, so they put in company paid health insurance, which was new. This was not meant to be a solution to the nation’s health care problems. It was simply a carrot for hiring.

    Unfortunately, people began to look at company provided insurance just like they now look at government entitlements. They wanted it, they wanted it cheap, and they didn’t want any conditions. Well, it didn’t work out that way. Costs kept rising and adjustments that weren’t fair were being made to compensate for that.

    And, it’s not going to work out any better with Obama’s plans, except everything will cost more and there will be rationing. You better believe it.

    Efforts to put people back on private policies and to offer tax incentives have been shot down every time by the Democrats. They aren’t worried about your health. They’re concerned only about their power. Yes, it seems incredible, but you better believe that, too.

    To avoid the problems of the past twenty years with companies and the problems of the next hundred years with government, people should become self-reliant for their own medical coverage…if, only, the Democrats would let them.

    So, to paraphrase you: I have come to the conclusion long ago that without strict laws with voters fooled into expecting something for nothing corporations government will do what is best for them and not for their customers its citizens.

    In the end, the only people you can trust to care about doing what’s best for you are you and your family. It’s time that we told Obama that and took control of ourselves.

  • I believe that you must make it a level playing field for business, if you want corporations to act for the betterment of society. Examples inlcude:

    1) Child labor laws (before these you had thousands of six year olds working 12 hours a day).

    2) Environmental laws (before these you had factories poisoning the air and the water).

    3) APR laws – Prevents banks from cheating borrowers. (I believe this one needs a lot of work, after having worked in the IT department for a sub-prime bank).

    Government will do what is best for them, often ignore the rule of law or what is best for its citizens. But that is what founding fathers were most afraid of and that is why the armed forces pledge an oath to the constitution, because our founding fathers new that we needed strict laws to reign in the government.

Leave a Comment