kutsuwamushi: photo of Fever Ray being all goth (serious face)
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WellPoint routinely targets breast cancer patients: An article on how the largest health insurance company in the country specifically targeted women diagnosed with breast cancer and canceled their policies on the flimsiest pretexts. Here is the story of one woman they targeted:
Losing her policy had serious consequences for Beaton, the retired Texas nurse. In June 2008, she learned that her insurance had been dropped just as she was about to undergo surgery for breast cancer. She had been recently diagnosed and told her cancer was a particularly aggressive type that would require a double mastectomy.

On the Friday before the Monday she was scheduled for surgery, Beaton's insurance company said it would not pay for the operation. It also informed her that it was launching an investigation of her medical history to see if she had misled the company and would sue if it found that to be the case.

Beaton's insurance problems stemmed from a visit to the dermatologist's office just before her breast cancer diagnosis. A word written on her chart was mistakenly determined to be precancerous, she said in testimony last year before the congressional committee. In fact, she was being treated for acne.

Even after her dermatologist told the insurer he indeed had only treated her for acne, her lack of insurance meant Beaton could not schedule her surgery.

Her doctors had told her that even the slightest delay might endanger her life, so Beaton was frantic. She contacted anyone who might be able to help her. As a nurse, she knew which charities and hospitals to plead her case. Still, she got nowhere until her congressman, Republican Representative Joe Barton, successfully took up her cause.

Five months elapsed between the time her surgery was originally scheduled and the time WellPoint agreed to pay for it. During that delay, the cancerous mass in her breast had more than tripled. She had to undergo a radical double mastectomy and her survival rate is a fraction of what it would have been had she been allowed to have the surgery earlier.
Beaton may die for their profit.

Health care reform is supposed to prevent rescission, but it still allows for it in cases of fraud or intentional misrepresentation. But who decides whether it's fraud? And how strict will enforcement be?

I have a long and complicated medical history. When doctors were searching for a cause for my migraines, they had so many different theories that I can't remember them all. It would be impossible for me to write down everything ever considered and noted in my extensive medical charts on an application for insurance.

So, until 2014 at least, whether I have insurance and can rely on continuing to get health care if I get expensively sick, depends entirely on the morality of a profit-motivated company and the strength of this part of the reform.
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