Managed Health Care Chief Noted for Work on Policy Cancellations
Cindy Ehnes' tenure as executive director of the Department of Managed Health Care has been marked by her efforts to protect consumers from improper policy cancellations and other actions by insurers and health care providers, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Ehnes, who was appointed nearly four years ago by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), supervises 121 health plans with 21 million members.
As DMHC director, Ehnes has adopted new regulations and penalties for HMOs that rescind policyholders' coverage after they become sick. Blue Cross of California, for example, was fined $1 million for alleged cancellation violations.
While Ehnes contends she is a patient advocate, consumer groups maintain that she has not been aggressive enough in taking action against insurers.
Doctors also have criticized Ehnes for not taking a tougher stance against insurers accused of violating rules on physicians' fees, billing and collections.
Meanwhile, Chris Ohman, director of the California Association of Health Plans, praised Ehnes for reducing "unnecessary red tape and expedit[ing] the government review process" for issuing licenses (Girion, Los Angeles Times, 1/13).