Report: WellPoint Targeted Then Dropped Breast Cancer Patients

Is it too late for WellPoint to get into the Worst Company In America competition? A new report says the insurance giant and its subsidiaries have been deliberately targeting policyholders recently diagnosed with breast cancer and going to great lengths to have their policies nullified.

According to Reuters, WellPoint, who cover 33.7 million Americans through its numerous subsidiaries, “used a computer algorithm that automatically targeted them and every other policyholder recently diagnosed with breast cancer. The software triggered an immediate fraud investigation, as the company searched for some pretext to drop their policies.”

After being singled out by the computer, their policies were canceled “based on either erroneous or flimsy information.”

WellPoint has been singled out before by Congress for being a major practicer of “recission,” the process of weeding out policyholders after they’ve been diagnosed with a medical condition that could cost the insurer a significant amount of money.

In a statement to Reuters, WellPoint said that “various specified criteria trigger rescission investigations, including certain types of medical claims.”
WellPoint swears, hand-on-heart, that it changed its rescission practices to ensure they are handled appropriately after a 2006 review.

To show just how much they care about the health of their policyholders, WellPoint even went so far as to add a doctor to the committee that makes decisions on recissions.

In recent months, another insurance company, Assurant was caught targeting and then dropping HIV-positive policyholders.

Of interest: Assurant lost out in the first round of Worst Company in America to Anthem Blue Cross Blue shield, which is a major subsidiary of WellPoint.

Exclusive: WellPoint routinely targets breast cancer patients [Reuters]