U.S. to WellPoint: Stop dropping breast cancer patients
Fri Apr 23, 2010
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has called on health insurer WellPoint to stop dropping coverage for patients recently diagnosed with breast cancer, calling the practice "deplorable."
In a letter dated April 22 to Angela Braly, WellPoint's chief executive, Sebelius said she was "surprised and disappointed" to learn from a Reuters report that the company had targeted women with breast cancer for aggressive investigation with intent to cancel their policies.
"As you know, the practice described in this article will soon be illegal," Sebelius wrote. "The Affordable Care Act specifically prohibits insurance companies from rescinding policies, except in cases of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of material fact."
Reuters reported on Thursday that WellPoint, the largest U.S. health insurer by enrollment, was using a computer algorithm that automatically targeted patients recently diagnosed with breast cancer, among other conditions.
The software triggered an immediate fraud investigation by the company as it searched for excuses to drop coverage, according to government regulators and investigators...