• Sheesh. What’s a customer got to do to get a settlement? Tuesday, March 16, 2010

    Our friends over at Capitol Weekly took in a recent politically-tinged Assembly hearing on a state settlement with insurance companies over canceled polices, and report that compensation has gone to only 170 of some 6,000 customers who lost their insurance coverage from 2004 to 2008. About 2,100 applications are pending, according to testimony from Bryan Liang, executive director of the Institute of Health Law Studies at California Western School of Law.

    The piece spells it all out, but these bits jumped out as particularly interesting:

    Republicans said the statistics painted a distorted picture of those who had their health insurance canceled. They say some of those who had their coverage rescinded may have found health care through another job, or sought insurance from another provider.

    [ . . . ]

    In his testimony, Liang said the departments could do a better job in reaching out to those who have had their coverage canceled. He also suggested offering a set payment to everyone who had their policies canceled between 2004 and 2008, instead of requiring former customers to go through an arbitration process.

    “It puts the burden on the victim instead of on the insurer,” he said. He added: “Insurers came to the table with dirty hands.”

    As for the politics — the committee hearing was chaired by Assemblyman Hector De La Torre of South Gate, who’s angling for the Democratic nod to run for insurance committee. Also on the committee: Assembly member Mike Villines of Clovis, who’s after the Republican nomination. They, um, disagreed, as you might imagine.

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