Stupak Looks at Insurers Voiding Coverage to Sick Clients

The U.P.’s voice in Congress is already heading to Negaunee this weekend to talk, among other things, health care.

But he’s also talking in a news conference by phone today about something 3 insurance companies recently did to 20,000 people around the country.

A House subcommittee that Congressman Bart Stupak chairs is looking at recissions.

Those are moves by insurance companies to void the coverage of customers because they’re sick and, therefore, expensive.

If it happens to you, it means you can never get private insurance again, because all insurers ask if you’ve ever been turned down for coverage.

Stupak says when times are good, you might pay premiums for years which your insurer will be more than happy to collect from you.

But he says when times turn bad and you become seriously ill, some insurers are using costs as an excuse to renege on the promise they’ve made to you — that they’ll be waiting to help you if you need them.

Stupak says the companies that use this practice do it to people who, because they’re ill, often aren’t capable of fighting back.

He’s working on this with a former insurance company executive.

Wendell Potter was a corporate communications executive for CIGNA, and Humana before that.

And he says recission is one of the reasons why small businesses don’t offer insurance to their employees anywhere near as often as they used to.

Potter says in 1993, about 70% of American small businesses offered health benefits, but only about 40% do now.

Stupak also says the HR3200 health care reform bill has measures in it that would put a stop to recissions.

That’ll be part of his town hall meeting at Lakeview School in Negaunee Saturday morning.