Governor vetoes common sense consumer protection

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There is a loophole in the current CT law that doesn’t allow insurance companies to cancel your health insurance policy just when you need it. But Monday the Governor vetoed a bill to close that loophole. In 2007, CT passed PA 07-113, An Act Concerning Postclaims Underwriting, which was meant to stop insurers from claiming that consumers hadn’t disclosed something in their application conveniently just when the consumer became ill and the insurer is facing big bills. Lawsuits in other states found that some insurers had entire departments devoted to these investigations and paid bonuses to employees for finding excuses to rescind costly policies. The 2007 CT law requires insurers to do their investigations at the time of the application. If they approve someone and start taking the premiums, they have to cover them – except in cases of intentional fraud obviously. Unfortunately, CT’s insurance department interprets the law to exclude cases where insurers hadn’t done their job and examined consumers’ medical records at the time of application. How convenient is it to just take premiums from everyone and only do the work of investigating when someone files a claim. This year’s bill, PA 09-135, An Act Clarifying Postclaims Underwriting, was meant to fix that. CT’s State Healthcare Advocate Kevin Lembo characterized the Governor’s action as “among the most callous veto messages I’ve ever seen from this Governor.” “Nowhere in her veto message is there a recognition of the impact on a patient lying in a hospital bed whose policy has been ripped away. No concern for people losing their homes or foregoing life-saving treatment because an insurance company decided it was too expensive.”
Ellen Andrews