On an average working day last year the Missouri Department of Insurance took a complaint about health insurance every hour and 18 minutes, almost 11-hundred complaints about group health and more than 650 complaints about individual health insurance in all.
Anyone who has been listening to the national debate on healthcare overhaul legislation will recognize the issues—refusal to pay a benefit because of preexisting conditions or refusal to insure because of preexisting conditions, problems with payment of benefits, co-payments, coordination of benefits, and out-of network benefits.
Consumer Affairs Director Angela Nelson says the department is “intently” watching development of the healthcare bill in Washington. “There are several provisions …about preexisting conditions, removing lifetime maximum benefits, not being able to cancel someone once they develop a health condition that are very, very beneficial to consumers. I think we would view them positively,” she says. She hopes inclusion of those issues in the final bill will help reduce many of the complaints the department now receives.
The department is limited in what it can do with complaints from people covered under companies with self-funded health insurance plans. But if an employer buys a policy issued in MIssouri, the department does have some power.
The most complaints are filed about auto insurance with group health second and individual health insurance third. But Nelson thinks the total number of complaints from the two health insurance categories is more than the auto insurance complaints.
Listen to Bob Priddy’s story: :60 mp3 nelsva
Interview with Angela Nelson 8:10 mp3 nels10