U.S. to WellPoint: Stop dropping breast cancer patients

Comments (37)
TahoeMike wrote:

Every hear of the Fourth Estate? Keep doing your job Reuters.

Apr 23, 2010 10:56am EDT  --  Report as abuse
RedMenace wrote:

Yes, good job Reuters. At least one news organization is still doing what the founding fathers desired, which is to watchdog government and corporate organizations for the good of the common man. Let Fox ‘News’ drift slowly into the dust bin of history.

Apr 23, 2010 10:59am EDT  --  Report as abuse
kentcosta wrote:

Deplorable behavior on the part of Wellpoint.
May I ask how much money and effort was wasted to exclude those needing help, instead of focusing on providing proper medical care for all.

Apr 23, 2010 11:06am EDT  --  Report as abuse

Only problem is Reuters used data from 2006. Wellpoint stopped the practice after that year. They still use the program in their fraud unit to make certain that people aren’t lying on their applications. Ms. Sebelius needs to be careful here. While insurance carriers will no longer be able to drop people from insurance, they will still be allowed to rescind policies where the insured commits fraud. The Dept. of HHS is trying everything to make an example of Wellpoint. This was the only insurer who stood up to them during the HC reform debate. Reuters needs to make certain they do their journalistic duty and report all of the facts.

Apr 23, 2010 11:08am EDT  --  Report as abuse

Well, “Zacs”…I presume you’re a guy. If there’s a woman in your life, repeat to her what you posted here, and see what kind of response you get. Meanwhile, pray you’re not among the percentage of men who contract breast cancer (yes, that does happen) or that your insurance carrier isn’t doing the same thing with guys who get prostate cancer or heart disease.

Apr 23, 2010 11:18am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Zacs wrote:

People need to stop being so emotional, think rationally, and pay attention to the facts. There was no story here whatsoever; just old information that is no longer relevant – yellow journalism if you ask me. And seriously…wishing illness on people? Give me a break.

Apr 23, 2010 11:32am EDT  --  Report as abuse
richmitch wrote:

Way to go Reuters! Awesome investigative reporting!

Apr 23, 2010 11:36am EDT  --  Report as abuse
m3t00 wrote:

@Zacs – So you are all for letting insurance companies decide if you live or die? You are a shill for soulless insurance Big Brother! Congratulations!

Apr 23, 2010 11:43am EDT  --  Report as abuse
mr.mustard123 wrote:

Zacs, after your initial repulsive post, the responses have caused you to take another tactic. Now you are the “concern troll”. We see right through you Zacs and health care for all Americans without going bankrupt is non-negotiable. Better go tell your corporate masters the little people are getting serious.

Apr 23, 2010 11:43am EDT  --  Report as abuse
flapgirl wrote:

Gee, let me think…hmmm. When I had breast cancer with a 3,5, and 7 year old I was really trying hard to defraud my insurance company. Yep. Top of my list. By the way, that additional plastic surgery that I am having is reconstructive, a repair job after 3 years. Thank heavens that I was never dropped.

Who are these ding dongs? It is an emotional subject. From all angles.

Apr 23, 2010 11:48am EDT  --  Report as abuse
mr.mustard123 wrote:

Not wishing illness of people Zacs, get it right and don’t change the subject.

Wishing to separate them from their money, with all possible means.

Apr 23, 2010 11:51am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Veritas177 wrote:

Read that entire Reuters story and tell me where they found even one lick of actual evidence that WellPoint singles out breast cancer patients. This entire article, including the inflammatory headline, was based on nothing more than a wholly unsubstantiated claim.

I work for a WellPoint unit that provides nurse case support for people with breast cancer. Wellpoint covers tens of thousands of cancer patients, and our case management consitently wins industry awards. We are dedicated professional clinicians who fight for our patients health and well being every day. We actually impact people’s outcomes, which is more that HHS can claim.

I have WellPoint insurance, and I can say with absolutely no doubt, that if I were to be diagnosed with cancer I have the best coverage and the best chance of survival compared to anywhere on earth. Having worked in many places throughout the industry, I truly believe that WellPoint is a gold standard for cancer care.

To suggest, based on two examples of recission, that WellPoint is leaving cancer victims in the cold is irresponsible and untrue. WellPoint saves more lives every single day than Kathleen Sibilus or HHS will ever manage.

Shame on Reuters for this absurdly biased and innaccurate story, and shame on Sebilus for making political hay out of Reuters’ bad reporting.

Apr 23, 2010 12:05pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
txgadfly wrote:

Insurance companies get preferential tax treatment from the Government and access to Government health programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid, Government employee enrollment, military benefits, and more. These things are not rights. They are privileges.

The Government has every right to restrict any insurance company from these programs, and from tax code provisions intended to promote the Public Welfare. Sounds like Wellpoint, as well as some posters here, does not think the Government has the right to use those powers. Bet they approve the Government invading countries, though, where the people wear “rags” around there heads though!

Apr 23, 2010 12:24pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Zacs wrote:

I thought Reuters was a news company for adults? I guess no one actually read the story and instead only read the comments. The real story isn’t about people being denied health care, its about Reuters being complicit in helping the Imperial Federal Government scapegoat Wellpoint. On another note, I want to thank you all for you comments, they were a welcome gift of levity on an otherwise dull and dreary Friday.

Apr 23, 2010 12:28pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
mr.mustard123 wrote:

Right Veritas, that is why we pay more in the world than anyone and receive mediocre results.

That is why we had a raging national debate because of health insurance abuses.

That is why the concept of recision exists because our health care system is the “best in the world”.

Of course we don’t bankrupt our neighbors because they dare to get sick. LOL.

And your CEO’s salary jumped from $8 million to $13 million in one year during an economic recession. Why?

You corporate people are absolutely nuts and no matter how you spin it, or dress it up we are getting screwed by the health care industry and Wellpoint is a major offender.

Shame on you for supporting cruelty and theivery on your own neighbors who paid their premiums and when they needed it most, with cancer, Wellpoint dropped their coverage.

Shame on you Veritas and if you ever leave Wellpoint, watch out, they will try to get you too.

Absolute corporate-dick morons.

What is wrong with you?

Apr 23, 2010 12:35pm EDT  --  Report as abuse

Insurance HMOs need to be non profit. Period

Apr 23, 2010 12:41pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
HBC wrote:

By going short on the health of their customers whom they misled into believing they’d taken a long position, Hellpoint’s only doing the work of Goldman.

Apr 23, 2010 12:45pm EDT  --  Report as abuse

oh come on! What can she say?!!!

Apr 23, 2010 12:46pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Veritas177 wrote:

Zaos, I am proud to work for WellPoint, no matter what uniformed people like you say. Every day I go to work and heal the sick while people like you grouse and complain and help no one.

No body that is even half informed can claim that the most difficult issues of the American health care sector are the fault of insurance. All insurance profits combined represents less than 1% of healthcare spending. If you are such a hater that you have to pick a fine company like WellPoint to hate, I pity you both for your ignorance and your arrogance.

Apr 23, 2010 1:00pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Compound wrote:

I thought this article was in the “News’ section and not ‘Fiction’. Good job, Reuters – try doing a little research next time and perhaps you may actually (gasp) find some facts, not fiction. I guess we just make stuff up now in order to make money… SHAME

Apr 23, 2010 1:25pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
waveonshore wrote:

WellPoint will get theirs as soon as our new legislation allows us to shop around. Theirs is a stupid way to run a business! If I were a shareholder I would be furious. When you screw customers and rack up bad PR your business REALLY suffers aka fewer profits!

Apr 23, 2010 1:30pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Rockygryphon wrote:

It’s just like going to a concentration camp to die and donate blood and skin for the company’s profits in making lampshades, except the people are actually PAYING for these, “health CARE” insurance SCAMS. I thought the newly passed bill in Congress outlawed MURDERING people this way. Is this what all the Republicans and their fringe right-wing supporters were so afraid of? Losing profits in their Dr. Mengele health industry?

Apr 23, 2010 1:33pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
ryk wrote:

The following clip from yesterday’s article demonstrates that whatever wellpoint did in 2006, women were still having their policies cancelled in 2008.


[The cancellation of her health insurance in June 2008 forced Robin Beaton to delay cancer surgery by five months. In that time, the tumor in her breast grew from 2 centimeters to 7 centimeters.]

Apr 23, 2010 1:38pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
squiddy wrote:

Wellpoint recap:
“We did absolutely nothing wrong or immoral, and we promise we’ll never ever do it again.”

Apr 23, 2010 1:56pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
flapgirl wrote:

Hey I sure am happy not to have WELLPOINT as my insurer. Spelling is atrocious from that commenter/
Wellpointer/worker/lifesaver who can’t spell………

Apr 23, 2010 2:46pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
RubyLogan wrote:

I too worked for Wellpoint for over a decade and know them well form a middle to upper management standpoint. They do engage in illegal practices including recission, especially at the Individual level. They have especially become an incredibly unethical company since merging with ANTHEM – a true devil of a company bled off my L. Shaffer and Larry Glasscock before they left in the hands of lawyers’ Angela Braly and Leslie Margolin in CA. KUDOs to Reuters and Sebelius for keeping an eye on them. They should also be investigated for serious descriminatory practices including Racism, Agism and wrongful terminations and forced retirements to get rid of the over 50 crowd. Sorry for changing the subject — I just think people should go elsewhere for heatlth coverage – Blue Shield, Aetna and Kaiser are good ethical options. Any company associated with Wellpoint or Anthem should be avoided until their entire management team from Angela Braly to the Sales VPS and Directors nationwide have been removed and replaced with competent and ethical leaders.

Apr 23, 2010 2:58pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Billium1953 wrote:

If Poppa Barack only knew about this he would stop it!

Apr 23, 2010 3:44pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
AqW wrote:

Zacs, honestly, even if we believed your comments above, you are simply distracting the forum here by talking about big daddy govt. and what not. FOCUS on the issue here: there is a high likelihood that people are still being dropped unfairly by the insurance providers, period. You can talk about Obama, socialism, big daddy on Wall Street, Reuters succumbing to this govt., etc. It maximizing shareholder value is only by cutting off insurance and/or increasing premiums, health care is not a good place to have pure capitalism rule. We all have notices that even the financial industry has gone to extreme greed based capitalism: correction needed, which is being rightfully done by this administration. Don’t worry, US will never and should never be socialistic. Time and again this country makes good corrective actions and fortunately or unfortunately, many such corrections are happening all in one yr. Better late than never.

Apr 23, 2010 4:15pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Veritas177 wrote:

Please understand that the Reuters story is total trash. One of the women featured was not even covered by WellPoint, the other was not rescinded for breast cancer, but for another issue. WellPoint does not target breast cancer for recission, and a careful reading of the article shows that Reuters offers no evidence that they do. The article is rife with other errors as well, including misspelling one of the woman’s names throughout the article. This is an embarrassment for Reuters, not WellPoint. Sebilius is a publicity ho, riding a factually incorrect article as an excuse to get in front of cameras.

Apr 23, 2010 5:43pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
PapaDisco wrote:

Wellpoint “uses an algorithm” . . . nice summation of the lack of humanity in the corporatization of healthcare.

Healthcare in the U.S. really started going downhill when we went from a non-profit model to a for-profit model.

Apr 23, 2010 5:57pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
VR_Sparks wrote:

This personifies everything that is wrong with the health system in the US. It borders on the evil.

Apr 23, 2010 6:13pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
clsgis wrote:

The only fix is medicare for all. As long as there is a for-profit insurance industry, it will kill people for profit, and its disgusting flacks will lie about it.

Apr 23, 2010 8:53pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
jamessharon wrote:

it could be one this stupid disease will be destroyed.i am getting what the actual reason behind it.


Apr 24, 2010 9:17am EDT  --  Report as abuse
2pesos wrote:

Good that so many still feel strongly!

I work in health care too Veritas, and for long enough that I have learned that that ‘I’ am not healing the sick. Patients own body’s are making them well-we just provide the body with adjuncts to help it heal.
It is for sure that Case Managers are not going to work every day and healing the sick, any private duty care giver is providing more actual ‘care’ and for a lot less money!
I am not a great fan of HHS or US Public Health Service either-worked for them long enough to know that their system is just as crooked and corrupt as any insurance company, with more power.
A mega screw job by the USPHS left me as a burned out, broke, uninsured, American-thank the good Lord for the military and the VA!

But, there are good people working in the USPHS, who, misguided or not, believe that they can make things better by working in the system that employs them, just like well meaning people in the Insurance Industry, I am sure.

I don’t think name calling (Sebelius a ho!-do you know her?, I don’t either, so that’s a little strong) of any particular individual is going to further a discussion about how to get care to people who need it.

Agw is so right, health care is not a place where pure Capitalism should rule. Why should a suffering, ill person forgo pain medicine because doing so might put an extra ten dollars into the days receipts?
On the other hand, health care, as practiced in the US has become ridiculously focused on ‘private rooms for all’, beautiful artwork on the walls, and elegant waiting areas.
Common people, do you want to hang out and admire the hospital or get affordability priced care, delivered by enough real humans, who have worked in the place long enough to at least know how to find the IV tray, and how to get hold of your doctor if you have a problem, and get the heck out of there and back to your life.
What!!?? Don’t have a life besides eating, getting your ego stroked and drug seeking? Maybe these are ’some of the most difficult issues of American Health Care’, Veritas.
I don’t know how the current health care system, in which the most money spent on health care is in the last two weeks of a persons life, is going to change problems the 57 year old, 300 lb, pre cardiac, arthritic, well insured, diabetic has.

A few Mr. Mustards and Veritas sprinkled into discussions, keeps things lively, and goads me into putting in my two cents also.
Keep up the good Reuters open discussions!

Apr 24, 2010 11:32am EDT  --  Report as abuse
A_Alex wrote:

Most consumers and even many insurance agents are unaware that Humana, UnitedHealth Group , Aetna (AET), Blue Cross plans, and other insurance giants have ready access to applicants’ personal histories. These online reports, available to insurers in seconds from little-known intermediary companies, typically include voluminous medical and personal information. The reports may also provide a numerical score predicting what a person may cost an insurer in the future.

Consumer Reports – Denied Insurance Because of a Coding Error in Her MIB Report.


Just as financial companies rely on “credit reports” to establish credit for customers, insurance companies utilize “medical report” files to assess the health, insurability, and price ratings for individual health insurance applicants. The Federal laws FCRA and FACTA, which govern the credit bureaus Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, also regulate the nationwide specialty insurance reporting agencies the Medical Information Bureau Inc (MIB), Ingenix Inc., and Milliman Inc.

Apr 24, 2010 12:24pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
washo wrote:

Haay Zacs, health insurance was created to meet the needs of the sick. For insurance to drop someone simply because he or she has cronic illness defiles your very existance as a human being. I personally don’t think it is appropriate for healthcare insurance to drop anyone based on pre-existing condition or drop them based on cronic illness. Let them recieve what their money worth.

Apr 24, 2010 5:53pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
drclue wrote:

Don’t worry , it will all get spun as an issue of left vs. right , and the little RED and BLUE ball rolled out to keep talk radio listeners busy.

The church of Capitalism err “free enterprise” will just dance around it and we will continue forking over our health , home , jobs and savings by whatever creative means being discussed in board rooms probably as we read.

Probably find some way to blame it on a minority and not the guys in the limos.

Apr 25, 2010 5:18am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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