From Pine View Farm

If You’re Sick, You Ain’t Profitable 3

Providing health care and the profit motive, incompatible. We need to move to a system with a goal of providing health care, not a goal of enriching CEO’s and salespersons (emphasis added):

One of California’s largest for-profit insurers stopped a controversial practice of canceling sick policyholders Friday after a judge ordered Health Net Inc. to pay more than $9 million to a breast cancer patient it dropped in the middle of chemotherapy.


State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner applauded the judge, saying “health insurers simply cannot hold out the promise of insurance for their consumers and then snatch it away just when people need it most. That is illegal, immoral and will not be tolerated.”

Earlier, Health Net had defended its actions, saying it never would have issued Bates a policy in the first place if she had disclosed her true weight and a preexisting heart condition on her application.

Bates said a broker filled out the application while she was styling a client’s hair on a busy day in her shop. She said she answered his questions as best she could.

Bates said she already had insurance and wasn’t in the market until the broker came by and told her that he thought he could get her a lower monthly premium if she switched to Health Net.

At the arbitration hearing, internal company documents were disclosed showing that Health Net had paid employee bonuses for meeting a cancellation quota and for the amount of money saved.

“It’s difficult to imagine a policy more reprehensible than tying bonuses to encourage the rescission of health insurance that keeps the public well and alive,” the judge wrote.

Via Atrios.



  1. Ray

    February 24, 2008 at 4:33 am

    If we only knew how many similar stories like this one are out there maybe we would get serious about fixing the problems in our health care system. the most troubling aspect is if you think its bad now, 5 years from now it will be 10 times worse. Hyper inflation is wicked.

  2. Karen

    February 24, 2008 at 5:57 am

    Did you see the article in the NYT about people either paying themselves for DNA testing, or not having it done at all, because of the belief, (justified) that the insurance companies will either cancel an existing policy, hike up premiums, or not write one, based on the results of the DNA testing?

    Or the company in CA that had issued policies for people, then had doctors reporting about the personal information of the patient, & using that information to cancel the policy in force?

  3. Opie

    February 24, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    So if the profit is the problem, wouldn’t it make sense for the Democratic Party to start a non-profit health insurance company or HMO, and undercut the for-profit ones by passing on the savings to the working people?