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April 11, 2008

Insurance system of U.S. in shambles

One of the big issues for the upcoming presidential election in November is healthcare. Democrat candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, in some form or another, want to mandate that individuals be required to purchase healthcare coverage. Republican candidate John McCain wants to allow for tax breaks that would help cover the cost of insurance, but he has resisted any steps toward a mandatory requirement to purchase health insurance. But what happens when your health insurance provider decides to stop providing?

Patsy Bates, a California hairdresser, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003. She did have health insurance through Health Net, a for-profit health insurance provider in California. But, a few months into her cancer treatment, Health Net suddenly decided they were going to cancel her insurance policy.

“In fact, she was in the hospital getting prepped for surgery when she first learned Health Net was dropping her,” according to a Nov. 9, 2007, report by Bill Whitaker of CBS News. Bates, still in need of treatment, was stuck up the proverbial creek without the proverbial paddle. Bates was forced to quit her cancer treatment regimen until she found a charity to pay for it. She was also hung out to dry for $129,000, the cost of the treatments she received that Health Net refused to pay for.

So what happens when we’re all mandated to buy healthcare and then, when we get sick, our (for-profit) insurance provider drops us like a hot rock? Sounds like a big, fat, mandatory payday for the insurance companies, if you ask me! And, if you just happen to have any “pre-existing” conditions before you’re mandated to purchase health insurance, it’s an even bigger payday for the health insurance companies. Luckily, at least for Bates, in this case the good guys won.

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Posted by healthinsurance at April 11, 2008 05:47 PM