Insurance company gets spanked for asking doctors to spy for them.

14 February 2008

Last week an article broke in the LA TImes that the insurance company Blue Cross of California was asking doctors to report medical conditions to them that could be used as grounds to cancel customers' insurance. It is true that under certain circumstances insurance companies are legally permitted to terminate insurance contracts if the customer doesn't report certain pre-existing medical conditions on the forms, but this particular arm of Blue Cross was fined last year for cutting people left and right from their rolls, to begin with. Since the California Medial Association, the public, and the government of the state of California found out about the letter that BC of CA sent to all of those doctors, however, they swiftly reversed their position on the matter and stopped asking for the information.. not that they got much of it, anyway. You see, there's this little thing called patient-doctor confidentiality: Doctors aren't allowed to discuss or release specifics of their patients' cases with anyone they aren't asking for help (and even then they're strictly limited in what they can and can't say). Most interesting of all, it wasn't anyone on their rolls through Medicare, Medicaid, or corporate insurance policies that they were asking about.. it was people who have to pay their insurance premiums out of pocket, people who are least likely to have the time or energy to fight dreck like this because they're too busy working as 1099's.

This is something of a hot-button topic for me because I've fought many a time with insurance companies just to get basic procedures covered, let alone finding insurance the premiums of which didn't require Lyssa and I to live like hermits.