Sometimes I just need to rant…and this news inspired another one — “Firm Cancels Health Insurance Coverage for Girl, 17, After Celiac Disease Diagnosis” –Chicago Tribune.
People with celiac disease can be easily denied private health insurance in this country because they have a pre-existing condition, which I don’t think is right. In this case, celiac disease was considered the pre-existing condition. But the question here is which came first the celiac disease or the insurance. My personal answer is — it shouldn’t matter. Here is a quick synopsis of the article…
17-year-old Brianna Rice’s parents purchased American Community Mutual Insurance (health insurance) for their family when the parents became unemployed and COBRA was too expensive. That was last November. Fast forward to February when Brianna was diagnosed with celiac disease. Shortly thereafter the health insurance dropped Brianna and according to the article, “…also rescinded coverage all the way back to the day it started — Nov. 1.” So now the family has to pay upwards of $20,000 for her medical bills.
The insurance company doesn’t believe the Rice family was honest when they applied to get the insurance. According to the article,
“American Community…. [said] that if the Rices had given the company Brianna’s full health history when they applied for coverage, it would never have been granted.” — Chicago Tribune
The Rice family says they were completely honest with the company and any health issues (dizziness, elevated cholesterol, fatigue and coughing) she had on her record were unrelated to celiac and her bills should be covered. The parents have filed a complaint to the Illinois Department of Insurance. The state says this company is quick to rescind coverage and they’re looking into it.
Okay..I can’t help but rant a little…
1. I’m not entirely sold on the fact that those symptoms were unrelated to celiac disease. I really hope the family was honest with the insurance company. But I hate to tell you Rice Family, but most of these symptoms (dizziness, fatigue and coughing) can be traced to undiagnosed celiac. I might step away from using that as a reason. But that doesn’t excuse the fact that individually the symptoms may have been considered “no big deal” to a doctor before getting the health insurance in November.
Which brings me to rant #2…
2. Doctors are slow in diagnosing celiac. It is highly possible that she had these seemingly separate symptoms before getting on the new insurance but none of their doctors put the pieces of the puzzle together until February! This happens all the time. Many doctors only treat the symptom and don’t investigate the root cause of the symptoms. How is this the Rice family’s fault?
Which brings me to rant #3…
Once the celiac diagnosis happens and the gluten-free diet begins to treat it, often the doctor visits slow down considerably. They are healthier than ever before. So why is that so difficult to insure? This is part of what I talked about in a recent post on health insurance and celiac.
And even if the Rice family settles all of this with American Community, why wouldn’t another health insurer take her on? She should be as healthy as anyone else her age as long as she stays on the diet. It reminds me of how screwed up the health care system can be — like not covering birth control, yet covering the tens of thousands of dollars it costs to have a baby.
I don’t get it…Maybe I’m not destined to get it because I’m an “includer” and “consistency” in Tom Rath’s Strengths Finder 2.0 book. Or some may think I’m gullible.
Anyway please read the article…it’s very enlightening…It may even make you rant a little.
*Note: In my research I found an article on Forbes.com about Health Insurance Scams. One is about insurance for people with “dreaded diseases”. I’m not sure if celiac falls under this category (you’d think it would based on the article above), but it might be something worth looking out for.