2 | Coverage Denied: How the Current Health Insurance System Leaves MILLIONS Behind | Healthreform.GOV It is still legal in nine states for insurers to reject applicants who are survivors of domestic violence, citing the history of domestic violence as a pre-existing condition.8 Even when offering coverage, insurers can exclude entire categories of illnesses related to a pre-existing condition. For example, someone with a pre-existing condition of hay fever could have any respiratory system disease – such as bronchitis or pneumonia – excluded from coverage.9 Losing Coverage When You Need It Most Thousands of Americans also lose health insurance each year through a practice called rescission. When a person is diagnosed with an expensive condition such as cancer, some insurance companies review his/ her initial health status questionnaire. In most states’ individual insurance market, insurance companies can retroactively cancel the entire policy if any condition was missed – even if the medical condition is unrelated, and even if the person was not aware of the condition at the time. Coverage can also be revoked for all members of a family, even if only one family member failed to disclose a medical condition.10 A recent Congressional investigation into this practice found nearly 20,000 rescissions from three large insurers over five years, saving them $300 million in medical claims11 – $300 million that instead had to come out of the pockets of people who thought they were insured, or became bad debt for health care providers. 11Source At least one insurance company has been found to evaluate employee performance based in part on the amount of money an employee saved the company through rescissions.12 Simply put, these insurance company employees are encouraged to revoke sick people’s health coverage.
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