Round 48: United Health Care vs Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company

This is Round 48 in our Worst Company in America contest, Countrywide vs Clear Channel!Here’s what readers said in previous rounds about why they hate these two companies…

United Health Care:

“United Health Care failed to notify me that I was no longer eligible for insurance under my father’s plan. The assholes told him they were sending out a notification “packet” to me. I’m pretty sure I would have noticed that. Now I have to scramble for the lesser evil of BC/BS from my employer, if I’m eligible for that at all. Their last open enrollment period was in January. My UHC insurance expired in… December. Screw you, UHC!”

“United Health Care is probably the worst of the worst out of the big health insurers (who constitute possibly the worst industry in America). They should easily be in the final four. Their CEO received $1.1 BILLION in stock options as compensation (yes, “billion” with a ‘b’). Read about it here. This, while they were claiming they needed to retroactively cancel people’s coverage and routinely screw providers on payment. It’s clear where the “savings” from those shady practices were going.”

“I had to vote for UHG. They are the sort of company that gives capitalism a bad name, and Bill McGuire is the poster boy for it all.

He’s actually not worth $1.1billion anymore. He had to give back several hundred million dollars to clear up that little stock option backdating problem he ran into.

UHG’s new CEO, Stephen Helmsley, really isn’t much different. Just that he’s sitting on $600million+ instead of $800million.

The latest UHG scandal involves their Ingenix subsidiary. They compile health care cost information used to determine ‘reasonable and customary’ charges. It’s alleged that Ingenix has manipulated data in order to lower payments to doctors and hospitals which, of course, greatly helps the part of UHG that is paying claims.”

“They have been systematically screwing healthcare providers out of reimbursement, while also pulling shady practices on policy-holders. We aren’t talking about just stingy stuff, but things that are essentially outright fraud in my opinion. I’m not talking about UHC specifically here, but a lot of problems that are common in the health insurance industry. UHC is just a particularly egregious offender and one whose executives are making a killing, quite literally.

And obviously you aren’t familiar with the background on retroactive policy cancellations (something that isn’t limited to UHC)…this isn’t due to the customer letting their coverage “lapse” or not understanding the terms of the policy. It’s things like someone getting cancer and your insurer unilaterally deciding they are going to retroactively cancel ALL your coverage because you failed to disclose that you occasionally suffered from seasonal allergies. It specifically targets people that have expensive covered conditions. That isn’t an attempt to prevent fraud by patients…that’s an attempt to weasel out of responsibility for paying.

There is a laundry list of nasty practices by health insurers that I could go into. These things are just getting more prevalent because of the rising cost of healthcare. It’s becoming pretty much a high-stakes gamble whether or not your insurer will actually pay any given medical bill. They are bordering on massive organized criminal organizations. “

“I HATE United Health Care. I took my three children in to have their teeth cleaned. Untied DENIED the clam becasue it had been less than six month since the last cleaning. Turns out it had been five months and 29 days since their last cleaning. Had I waited one more day United would have paid the claim. When I complained I was told by several reps that I was SOL. JERKS!!!”

Read this

(The above link is about a case involving WellPoint, where they cancelled a woman’s coverage after she got breast cancer because of undisclosed minor preexisting conditions that were totally unrelated to the cancer). I agree that insurers should have some remedy if the pre-existing condition that was not disclosed is directly relevant to a condition for which a claim is being made. But what they are doing is basically auditing accounts of people who get diseases that will cost a lot of money, and trying to find ANY pretext to cancel their policy (by comparing their medical records to what the patient put on the disclosure form). The link above says that during a lawsuit employees testified that it was policy to do this to people who made expensive claims, and that it didn’t matter whether it was a willful non-disclosure or not.

If the insurers are so concerned about catching fraud, why don’t they just perform the records audit themselves before issuing insurance and collecting any premiums? It seems to me that they want to just collect premiums from people who pay on the grounds that they will be covered, and then not pay out when something actually does happen. I’m glad insurers are getting sued (and laws are being changed) over this practice. “

“For a concrete example of UHG’s most recent problems, try this:

Cuomo Announces Industry-Wide Investigation Into Health Ins…

The gist of the complaint:

Under the United insurers’ health plans, members pay a higher premium for the right to use out-of-network doctors. In exchange, the insurers promise to cover up to 80% of either the doctor’s full bill or of the “reasonable and customary” rate depending upon which is cheaper.

The Attorney General’s investigation found that by distorting the “reasonable and customary” rate, the United insurers were able to keep their reimbursements artificially low and force patients to absorb a higher share of the costs.

Cuomo’s investigation also found a clear example of the scheme: United insurers knew most simple doctor visits cost $200, but claimed to their members the typical rate was only $77. The insurers then applied the contractual reimbursement rate of 80%, covering only $62 for a $200 bill, and leaving the patient to cover the $138 balance.”

“UHC specifically is notorious mainly for their obscene executive compensation and for their practices involving their dealings with healthcare providers (though I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they are playing the retroactive cancellation games too).”

“United Healthcare denied my mother breast reduction surgery for the last 5 years because they said it was cosmetic. Did I mention she’s 5 feet 3 inches and a 34J? And has 15 years of doctor’s records about neck and back troubles including muscles randomly tearing?

My parents (who are not rich by any means) finally had to break down and pay the $8,000 out of pocket as my mother needed the surgery.

UHC deserves nothing less than the 7th circle of hell. “

“they cover men’s breast reduction surgery… but not women’s!”

Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company:

“a company that abuses animals and messes with the food supply”

“the callous disregard for the animals’ well-being is just gross neglect”

“poisoning the food supply”

“poisoning the lunches of unsuspecting children. The kids had no idea what they were getting.”

“Here is nothing that enrages me more than cruelty to animals, especially those that are harmelss to begin with and have falled sick through mistreatment and neglect. What those workers did to those creatures is evil personified.”

STILL OPEN FOR VOTING: Countrywide vs Clear Channel, Blue Cross Blue Shield vs Sprint, Bank of America vs Monster Cable, US Air vs Microsoft, Time Warner Cable vs American Airlines, Time Warner Cable vs American Airlines, Home Depot vs Wellpoint, Wal-Mart vs Citibank, Capital One vs ATT, Sallie Mae vs eBay/Paypal, TransUnion vs Diebold, Best Buy vs CompUSA, DeBeers vs Verizon, Exxon vs United Airlines, Sony vs Ticketmaster, Comcast vs The American Arbitration Association