Posts Tagged - ‘women’s issues’

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WellPoint Improves Health Insurance Coverage For Breast Cancer

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

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After lots of controversy surrounding their alleged rescission of the policies of breast cancer patients, WellPoint–one of America’s largest health insurance companies–is taking some steps to help patients and rehab their image.

Currently, a federal law is pending that will offer greater consumer protection to these women. However, WellPoint CEO Angela Braly has vowed to implement many of its provisions early, including medical insurance coverage for a voluntary minimum 48-hour hospital stay after a mastectomy.

Whether or not Representative Rosa DeLauro’s Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act passes or falls victim to general anti-healthcare reform sentiment (although its chances look bright–who wants to vote against cancer sufferers during an election year?), WellPoint will take these steps as of July 1st.

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Sebelius: WellPoint Must Stop Dropping Breast Cancer Patients

Monday, April 26th, 2010

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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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Breast Cancer Patients Dropped From Health Insurance

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

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A recent Associated Press investigation found out a sad trend among one of the nation’s major health insurance companies. WellPoint has apparently been targeting patients recently diagnosed with breast cancer in order to cut costs. They have scoured their records to find any possible pretext for dropping women from their policies.

These women did the right thing, and bought a health insurance plan before they became ill. Despite paying their premiums on time each month, the insurer had software that flagged their accounts for an automatic fraud investigation if certain diagnostic codes–such as breast tumors–appeared in their records. Any justification, however inaccurate or minor, was allegedly used as an excuse to cancel their policies. Since breast cancer is very expensive to treat, it can save them millions of dollars in claims.

Hopefully, this practice of rescission will soon be a thing of the past, due to the new healthcare reform law. WellPoint refuses to confirm or deny the allegations because of medical privacy laws.

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Unmarried and Uninsured Women

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

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According to a recent study by liberal think tank Center for American Progress, women who aren’t married are more likely to be uninsured. To be exact, 60% of the women lacking affordable health insurance coverage are single.

Why is this the case? There are several reasons. Women are more likely to work lower-paid, minimum-wage, and/or part-time jobs without health benefits. Many married women are insured through their spouse’s employer, an option not open to unmarried women.

Women still make about 78 cents for every dollar a man earns, yet health insurance plans on the open market are more expensive for them. As a result, some women have been forced to go without. Healthcare reform plans to end the practice of gender rating, but that will take awhile.

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Health Insurance Reform Promotes Breast Feeding

Monday, April 5th, 2010

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A new study from the American Academy of Pediatrics has found that the nation could save up to $13 billion if 90% of mothers exclusively breast fed their babies for twelve months. It is thought to lower family health insurance costs, since breast-feeding has been associated with lower rates of stomach and ear infections, juvenile diabetes, asthma, and other common illnesses that often require treatment and hospitalization.

What does healthcare reform have to do with it? Many women resort to using formula due to work obligations. Hidden in the health insurance legislation is a requirement for large employers to offer a private room–not a bathroom–for women to pump breast milk.

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1/3 Of Breast Cancer Cases Are Preventable

Friday, March 26th, 2010

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Fighting breast cancer is an ordeal that no person should have to go through. The vast majority of sufferers are women. Not only does it take a toll on your physical and mental health, but it is also associated with financial hardship. Although the passage of healthcare reform means that your health insurance can no longer be revoked for developing the disease, it is still something you would like to avoid.

Much breast cancer is genetic or due to general environmental factors, but a new study shows that up to one-third of the diagnoses of breast cancer in America may be preventable. What do the doctors suggest? They believe that avoiding smoking, limiting sun exposure, a healthy diet and regular exercise can help ward off the cancer.

Higher screening rates have helped reduce the incidence of breast cancer (as well as increase survival rates). If you’re a woman, make sure that your individual health insurance policy covers mammograms and regular gynecologist visits.

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Many Women Unhappy With Health Insurance Experiences

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

(Image: Jaap Steinvoorte under CC 2.0)

According to a new survey by the Boston Consulting Group, many female consumers in America are dissatisfied with the health insurance industry. These days, that is an opinion shared by many seeking (or trying to keep) affordable health insurance; but what makes women especially dissatisfied?

The survey results seem to blame bad customer service above all. Women still tend to shoulder a greater proportion of family responsibilities, and are therefore often responsible for scheduling appointments for themselves and family members. If a child needs to visit the doctor, it is typically the mother who takes him or her. Although that is not necessarily the fault of health insurance companies, they may express frustration towards them as a symbol of the system.

Health insurance, however, may be partially responsible for one of their pet peeves:  long waiting times for lab reports and doctors. Primary care physicians, especially, have an increasing amount of their day eaten up by filling out paperwork to receive reimbursement from various health insurance carriers. Healthcare reform might simplify the process, but it may also come with its own problems and inconveniences.

Women may be more unhappy with their coverage because they tend to pay more for it than men, particularly when buying individual health insurance. Even if the policy excludes maternity coverage, the disparity still stands. Health insurers justify the cost difference by explaining that younger women, on average, file more medical claims than men of the same age. Cold comfort to women seeing the big bite out of each paycheck.

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