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Sebelius: WellPoint Must Stop Dropping Breast Cancer Patients


Image: Scootzsx under CC 3.0

An update on an earlier story: the U.S. government has stepped into the controversy surrounding WellPoint, one of the nation’s top health insurance companies.

Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, has demanded that the health insurer quit its practice of dropping policyholders shortly after they are diagnosed with breast cancer. An AP investigation found that their software had algorithms that automatically flagged related diagnostic codes, unfairly targeting them for fraud investigations. Patients were then dropped with very little justification.

Affordable health insurance reform plans to phase out this practice, known as rescission. Sebelius considers WellPoint’s actions deplorable. In their defense, the insurer claims that they do not single out breast cancer; rather, they are searching for a variety of pre-existing conditions a person may have known of and lied about when purchasing coverage.

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