Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Shameless Corporation of the Week Award
This weeks Shameless Health Insurer Award goes to American Community Mutual Company. The saga of 17 year old Brianna Rice starts in the summer of 2008. Her dad lost his job as a business consultant and also lost his group insurance. Continuing coverage with COBRA was too expensive so they took out a new policy with American Community Mutual in Illinois. Because the 17 year old was healthy, the monthly premium was only $130.00
In February, 2009, Brianna was diagnosed with celiac disease. On May 12 the insurance company rescinded her insurance and said it was a pre-existing condition and they would not cover any of the doctor or lab bills. Doctor visits from the distant past had mentioned dizziness, high cholesterol (a lab error), fatigue and a cough. They attributed those mentions to celiac disease and said they would not pay for treatment. A physical exam performed on July 2, 2008 showed no major health concerns.
Celiac disease is a digestive disorder and is treatable by eliminating wheat products from the diet. It does not cause cough, dizziness or high cholesterol. Some patients do experience fatigue.
If insurance companies can collect premiums and then cancel a policy when a patient gets sick, the insurance is virtually worthless. Brianna's father has called several other insurers in Illinois but they will not insure her based on the February diagnosis. She qualifies for the Illinois Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) which is designed to help people who cannot get insurance through the conventional market. The average premium is $7,666 to a high of $16,000.
Congratulations to American Community Mutual Insurance for winning this weeks "Shameless Corporation Award."
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 8:17 PM