The Los Angeles Times reports today that Blue Cross of California, actually owned by Wellpoint, the nation’s largest health insurer, is asking its primary care physicians to inform it of any illnesses or conditions in a patient’s medical history in order to rid itself of customers who actually are sick. Blue Cross recently sent a letter to doctors, along with the the patient’s application for coverage for the doctor’s review. “We ask your assistance to identify medical omissions because you, being the primary care provider, will have first-hand knowledge of services provided and/or requested.
Wellpoint was fined $1 million last year for illegally canceling patient policies. Original article from the LA Times here.
I don’t know about you but this just makes me more sure that national single-payer is the best way to go in health care. Why pay subsidies to the insurers whose profit incentives are to cleanse their customer lists of people who most need health care? GLBTQ and other minorities are disproportionately lacking in health insurance in this country, largely due to the reliance on employer-paid coverage and discrimination in treatment of same-sex vs heterosexed couples.
UPDATE: This item is making its way up the news food chain today. We have the response from the California Medical Association:
“We’re outraged that they are asking doctors to violate the sacred trust of patients to rat them out for medical information that patients would expect their doctors to handle with the utmost secrecy and confidentiality,” said Dr. Richard Frankenstein, president of the California Medical Association.
But that’s what’s going to happen with a system that’s for profit.