Anthem Blue Cross dumps breast cancer patients

An exclusive article by Murray Haas of Reuters documents how Anthem Blue Cross routinely and systematically identifies breast cancer cases among its policyholders and pulls their medical coverage out from under them.

Not only does the article expose the appalling practice of how Anthem Blue Cross uses an algorhythm to search its computer databases for breast cancer cases, it reveals ways in which the WellPoint Inc. subsidiaries actually block breast cancer patients from getting help.

Read it here. Women who’d paid their premiums faithfully and on time suffered dearly .

The callousness of WellPoint and Anthem Blue Cross of California calls for thorough, immediate investigation, prosecution, penalties and the stiffest of regulation.

In a statement released today, Health Care for America Now, a partner of Health Access and a national grassroots coalition working toward successful implementation of health reform, reacted to the appalling news that the 14 Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans owned by WellPoint Inc. have been systematically targeting women stricken with breast cancer:

In a remarkable 4,200-word account published today, Reuters reported that WellPoint developed and used computer software to automatically trigger fraud investigations of breast cancer patients so the insurer could search for phony excuses to dump them. WellPoint is the nation’s largest health insurance company with 33.7 million members, most of whom are in Blue Cross plans in California, New York, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Connecticut, Indiana, Wisconsin, Nevada, New Hampshire, Colorado, Missouri, Ohio and Virginia. Meanwhile, WellPoint’s board is rewarding Angela Braly, WellPoint’s CEO, for this behavior. The company paid Braly $13.1 million in 2009, up 51 percent from the year before.

HCAN released the following statement from Ethan Rome, the group’s executive director:

“WellPoint’s Blue Cross-Blue Shield companies’ disregard for human life to maximize profits is immoral and outrageous. The Reuters report shows an unconscionable pattern of denying needed health care to line the pockets of wealthy executives and shareholders.

“Today’s disclosure provides more evidence of why Congress needed to pass national health reform in the first place, and it also shows why we need to curb the extraordinary influence of insurance companies so they don’t interfere with enforcement of the new law. We need the forthcoming federal regulations to shine a light on the insurance companies and hold them accountable for their bad practices.”

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.

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