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Insurance Tactics

September 21, 1986

Regarding John F. Lawrence's column ("It's Time for Health Insurers to Wise Up," Aug. 31), there is little question in my mind that insurance companies are already very wise (if not unscrupulous) and that is precisely the reason for the problems (among others) noted in the column.

To minimize expenditures and maximize profits, insurance companies have regularly eliminated pre-existing conditions from new policies. Further, "red tape" in processing claims is no accident. By delaying payment, insurance companies make millions of dollars on interest accrued in their bank accounts.

Possibly the greatest problem we face is that insurance companies are getting into the health field directly, with many developing health-maintenance organizations. The concern is that profit is inversely proportional to the amount of health care delivered. Restricted access to specialists and early discharge from hospitals are now being used to cut expenses and increase profits.

No, the insurance companies need not wise up. It is the public that should wise up and prevent this manipulation of the health-care delivery system.

ALLAN S. WIRTZER, M.D.

Van Nuys

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