U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released the following statement today on WellPoint's announcement that it intends to end the practice of rescinding patients' coverage in advance of the Affordable Care Act's requirement that insurers stop this practice starting this fall. WellPoint's announcement comes after Secretary Sebelius sent a letter on April 22 urging the company to immediately stop the practice of rescinding coverage for patients who become ill.
The Affordable Care Act will specifically prohibit insurance companies from rescinding policies, except in cases of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of material fact.
STATEMENT OF SECRETARY SEBELIUS
"Last week, when I heard reports of one insurer - WellPoint - targeting breast cancer victims for rescission of their policies, I challenged the company and the rest of the insurance industry to do what they have done with other key insurance reforms in the bill and not wait until September to do the right thing.
The last thing someone who is really sick needs to hear is that they are being dropped by their insurer because they got sick and tried to use the policy they purchased.
I was encouraged to learn today that WellPoint has announced it will act to stop rescissions and no longer engage in this practice as of the end of this week. I urge other insurers to also accelerate the Affordable Care Act's deadline for ending this practice and stop rescinding patients' policies immediately."
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