Saturday, November 10, 2007

Sickening

Bonuses paid for dropping sick patients:
A health insurance company serving customers in a half-dozen states set out to drop hundreds of customers and paid lucrative bonuses to an executive in charge of eliminating coverage.
One customer is suing the company, Health Net Inc., after a company salesman pressured her to switch to a Health Net plan only for the company to cut-off her coverage in the middle of costly cancer treatment.
California small-business owner Patsy Bates was one of more than 1,600 customers who had their Health Net policies rescinded between 2000 and 2006 saving the company $35.5 million, the Los Angeles Times reports. Over the same period the senior Health Net analyst in charge of canceling policies received more than $20,000 in bonuses based in part on her meeting annual targets for revoking the coverage.
Bates, who owns a beauty salon outside Los Angeles, is suing the company because it canceled her insurance when she was in the middle of chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer. She alleges the company acted in bad faith and left her with $200,000 in unpaid medical bills while she remains unable to continue the cancer treatment.
A televised version of this story was what greeted me when I came home Friday afternoon. There isn't much to say beyond the fairly straight-forward observation that the above is one of the consequences of putting blind faith into a purely for-profit health "care" system. You're only covered until you need the coverage, and then the corporations supposedly insuring you suddenly don't know you.

This past spring, I found an interesting graphic and article regarding health care costs and life expectancy. The basic gist was that the US is a multivariate outlier when it comes to the amount of money spent on health care and life expectancy - that is, in our case, we spend more money per capita than practically any nation on the planet but have a life expectancy roughly equivalent to nations such as Portugal. Given the huge expenses, one would think that Americans would outlive everyone else. Instead, we're behind nations like Japan, Sweden, France, and even the Czech Republic. There is something wrong indeed with this picture.

No comments:

Post a Comment