Friday, August 21, 2009

Health Insurance Rant

Allow me to vent some frustration about health insurance. My very healthy son just got turned down for insurance. He has a very mild case of Intestinal Neuronal Dysplasia. For this the insurance underwriter has said he will never be insured –not only for the IND but for any medical care ever.

I could understand this if he had a severe case of cerebral palsy and his care would certainly cost many thousands a year. But this is a healthy toddler who hasn't had a single symptom or treatment for over a year. We stopped treatments when he was 2 months old. When he did need treatments they were only tap water enemas that cost essentially nothing. His physician says that he will likely live his entire life without a another problem. I am a doctor as well. I reviewed every study published on IND and I am certain my son has the mildest form of the condition.

An underwriter probably saw “Intestinal Neuronal Dysplasia” on the application. It is too rare to have good statistical predictions of its risks. He probably googled it and saw it is genetic and can cause problems in severe cases and denied my son flat out. Ignorance caused them to reject a very healthy child that will likely cost not a penny more than any other child. I offered to speak to the underwriter and explain his situation, but the phone operator told me underwriters don't talk consumers.

My son won't be able to purchase insurance his whole life for a diagnosis that hasn't given him trouble since he was two months old. I can never have a private practice, because I will always have to work for an employer that offers group coverage the rest of my career. If my young, healthy family with no active medical problems cannot get insurance, families with sick individuals shouldn't even try.

I care a lot about healthcare. I have worked hard for years to ensure the care I give is affordable for patients. I have given high-quality low-cost care to hundreds of people insured by this very insurance company. For them to reject my healthy son out of what appears to be ignorance feels like a slap in the face. No wonder so many Americans are eager to bring down the insurance industry!