Waxman Wants Healthcare Companies to Disclose Info About ‘Purging’

henry waxmanRep. Henry A. Waxman, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Bart Stupak, Chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, sent letters to six health insurance companies requesting information about the practice of “purging” small businesses when their employees become ill and their health insurance claims increase.

Letters were sent to Aetna, UnitedHealth Group, WellPoint, Humana, Medica, and Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield.

“I began looking into the practices of the health insurance industry in the last Congress and was deeply disturbed by what we uncovered,” said Chairman Waxman. “As part of our ongoing investigation, we are now looking into the practice of health insurance companies terminating the coverage of small businesses when their employees become ill and their health insurance claims increase. We need to better understand how widespread this harmful and destructive practice has become, and how it is impacting small businesses and their employees across the country.”

“As we continue our investigation into business practices in the health insurance industry, the treatment of small businesses remains a concern,” said Chairman Stupak. “We have documented examples of insurance companies raising small business premiums by an unsustainable amount or canceling a policy once it is discovered a covered employee is sick. Much like rescissions in the individual market, this practice is alarming. To better understand how prevalent this practice is and precisely how many small businesses are impacted, we are asking some of the largest insurers to provide information on their small business policies.”

The committee is requesting information and documents for small group policies, including their renewal rates, factors used to determine premium rates, and the maximum premium rate increases.

As Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Waxman launched an investigation into the practices of the health insurance industry in 2008. That probe was carried over to the Energy and Commerce Committee this year.

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5 Responses for “Waxman Wants Healthcare Companies to Disclose Info About ‘Purging’”

  1. Oliver says:

    less of the up-nostril photo next time please!

  2. dobropet says:

    Small businesses are suffering only because of the giant corporations taking advantages of lobbying interests in D.C. of which Waxman may be a profiteer of.

  3. Hooray for Stupak & Waxman. Though I don’t always agree with Waxman, I certainly do here.

    Health care companies have been dropping coverage for higher-cost groups routinely for over 20 years. When I was in Medical School, our school’s coverage was changed every year. Apparently too many Med students were going to the doctor and actually using the insurance, which prevented Med student insurance premiums from going 100% into health insurers’ profits.

    This is why we need a “public option, which–as currently written in HR 3200–doesn’t cost taxpayers a penny. It’s 100% enrollee funded.

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