The LA Times today reveals that LA City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo is suing Blue Shield (for once, we’re not picking on Blue Cross) for rescissions.
The featured story is this poor Portuguese couple, left with $60,000 in medical bills after Blue Shield retroactively cancelled their coverage. The insurer scrutinized the family’s applications after the wife needed emergency surgery to remove her gall bladder. They couldn’t find anything wrong with her application, so they mined her husband’s application and VOILA — he had a high cholesterol reading he had not disclosed: cancel!
Turns out, the poor man didn’t even *realize* he had high cholesterol. He took Lipitor, but he was told by his doctor that “men his age often needed it.” He doesn’t speak English well. The agent filled out the application for them.
I always get nervous when I read these stories because it helps to illustrate exactly how vulnerable each and every one of us really is. This story, though, particularly touching because I have immigrant parents and my immigrant mother misunderstands things all the time — *ALL* the time. She doesn’t get jokes, and she can’t tell stories without getting at least three facts wrong.
So, if she were ever at the mercy of the individual insurance market (if the myriad pre-existing conditions she and my father have don’t already disqualify them from coverage), I would be reading about her rescinded coverage in the LA Times. Thank God for the retiree health care she has — for now…..