Things I am passionate about. Injustice, stupidity, intolerance, bigotry and small-mindedness. Oh and there might just be some humor to offset the whole thing.

Cut-off cancer patient to get $9Million!

Posted by morganwrites on February 28, 2008

LOS ANGELES – (AP) – A woman who had her medical coverage canceled as she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer has been awarded more than $9 million in a case against one of California’s largest health insurers.Patsy Bates, 52, a hairdresser from Lakewood, had been left with more than $129,000 in unpaid medical bills when Health Net Inc. canceled her policy in 2004.On Friday, arbitration judge Sam Cianchetti ordered Health Net to repay that amount while providing $8.4 million in punitive damages and $750,000 for emotional distress.

“It’s hard to imagine a situation more trying than the one Bates has had to endure,” Cianchetti wrote in the decision. “The rug was pulled out from underneath, and that occurred at a time when she is diagnosed with breast cancer, one of the leading causes of death for women.”

Bates, a mother of two, said she screamed when she heard about the damage award.

“I am elated,” she said.

Bates’ attorney William Shernoff said he wanted other insurers to take notice of the award.

“We are going to put a stop to this practice,” he said.

Health Net said it was implementing a freeze on policy cancelations that would last until the company sets up a third-party review panel to scrutinize cases.

“Obviously we regret the way that this has turned out, but we are intent on fixing the processes to maintain the public trust,” spokesman David Olson said.

The award came a day after the Los Angeles city attorney sued Health Net, claiming it illegally canceled the coverage of about 1,600 patients. City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo also said the company illegally ran an incentive program in which it paid bonuses to an administrator for meeting targets of policy cancelations.

Health Net acknowledged that such a program existed in 2002 and 2003 but was subsequently scrapped.

“It’s hard to imagine a policy more reprehensible than tying bonuses to encourage the recision of health insurance that helps keep the public well and alive,” Cianchetti wrote in the Bates decision.

Bates had been insured with another company but was persuaded to switch over to a Health Net policy after an agent suggested she could save money.

She said she had undergone surgery to remove a tumor and had received her first two chemotherapy treatments when doctors stopped treating her because her bills were going unpaid.

“I was devastated. I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Bates said. “It’s boggling that someone can do that to you.”

Bates went on to complete her cancer treatment through a state-funded program.

Health Net also said it would review its practices and the way its brokers and agents are trained.

This absolutely makes me so insane that I can hardly type. Health Net employees should all have their policies canceled and then they should be thrown in jail or deported to Kosovo, Rwanda, Antarctica, Iran, or some other really happy and safe place to live. Bastards, one and all!


2 Responses to “Cut-off cancer patient to get $9Million!”

  1. The 800 Pound Gorilla in the Health Insurance Industry

    A simple solution to end this health insurance abuse is have the states regulate the health insurance industry just like a public utility is regulated. This will rein in the obscene profits made by the insurance industry taking advantage of the vulnerability of sick Americans.

    How does one deal with an eight hundred pound Gorilla that misbehaves and denies coverage for your medical bills?

    Patsy Bates found out when a California court awarded her 9 million dollars for damages.

    Her insurance carrier, Health Net cancelled coverage just when she needed breast cancer treatment.

    Her lawyer, William Shernoff, not only read the book, he wrote the book: “Fight Back and Win: How to Get HMOs and Health Insurance to Pay Up”.

    Bravo for LA City Attorney Delgadillo and New York City Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for going after the health insurance industry for fraudulent practices such as cancellation for pre-existing conditions and underpayment for out-of-network doctor bills.

    To read more:
    Making Your Health Insurance Company Pay Up by Jeffrey Dach MD

    Jeffrey Dach MD

    my web site

  2. Jeffrey Dach MD,
    Being a retired financial planing/insurance agent, I’m familiar with the ends and outs of the trade. I agree with some of what you say, however, I think we need to get a handle on the fraudulent and frivolous claims and lawsuits that are hoisted on the insurance industry.
    My wife was also in the insurance field, mainly dealing with major hotel chains. One particular suit, brought by a male guest, against a hotel was absolutely insane.
    It seems he got his penis caught between the seat and the bowl of a toilet and sued. Did he win – yes.
    I’d like to know exactly what he was doing to cause an injury to his manhood.
    I could go on – but you get the idea.
    Thanks for commenting and I wish you all the best. This world needs more Doctors like you.

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