Patients Reach Settlement With Blue Cross
Blue Cross of California on Tuesday agreed to settle more than 70 lawsuits and claims filed by individual health plan members who alleged that Blue Cross illegally revoked their coverage, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The suits accused Blue Cross of violating state laws that prohibit insurers from canceling coverage unless a policyholder intentionally lied on the medical history questionnaire.
Blue Cross says it is allowed to cancel a policy regardless of whether omissions are intentional, but state regulators say a policy cannot be canceled for an unintended discrepancy between the policyholder's application and medical records (Girion, Los Angeles Times, 10/18).
Earlier this week in response to a class-action lawsuit by hospitals with similar allegations, Blue Cross said its cancellations are intended to eliminate fraud (California Healthline, 10/16).
In exchange for money in the settlements, patients agreed to drop allegations that Blue Cross had cancelled their coverage to avoid paying for costly treatments. Terms of the settlement are confidential (Los Angeles Times, 10/18).
"Anyone who isn't yet convinced of the dire need for a comprehensive American health care plan should look at Blue Cross of California," a San Francisco Chronicle editorial states, adding that people should "lean on our leaders to provide the political will and creative solutions it's going to take to care [for] all of us" (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/18).
KPBS' "KPBS News" on Tuesday reported on lawsuits against Blue Cross. The segment includes comments from Daron Tooch, an attorney representing California hospitals in a lawsuit against Blue Cross (Goldberg, "KPBS News," KPBS, 10/17). The complete transcript is available online. The complete segment is available online in Quicktime media format.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.