California’s Real Death Panels: Insurers Deny 21% Of Claims

by robopanda

Via medicalnewstoday (more stats at the link):

More than one of every five requests for medical claims for insured patients, even when recommended by a patient’s physician, are rejected by California’s largest private insurers, amounting to very real death panels in practice daily in the nation’s biggest state, according to data released today by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee. 

CNA/NNOC researchers analyzed data reported by the insurers to the California Department of Managed Care. From 2002 through June 30, 2009, the five largest insurers operating in California rejected 31.2 million claims for care — 21 percent of all claims. […]

“With all the dishonest claims made by some politicians about alleged ‘death panels’ in proposed national legislation, the reality for patients today is a daily, cold-hearted rejection of desperately needed medical care by the nation’s biggest and wealthiest insurance companies simply because they don’t want to pay for it,” said Deborah Burger, RN, CNA/NNOC co-president. 

For the first half of 2009, as the national debate over healthcare reform was escalating, the rejection rates are even more striking. 

PacifiCare denied 40 percent of all California claims in the first six months of 2009. Cigna, which gained notoriety two years ago for denying a liver transplant to 17-year-old Nataline Sarkisyan of Northridge, Calif. and then reversing itself, tragically too late to save her life, was still rejecting one-third of all claims for the first half of 2009. 

“Every claim that is denied represents a real patient enduring pain and suffering. Every denial has real, sometimes fatal consequences,” said Burger.

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