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Blue Cross in the cross hairs

March 27, 2007

Re "Blue Cross cancellations called illegal," March 23

Blue Cross hasn't canceled my policy. It continues to collect the premiums, but every single bill for the past several years has been "not a covered expense" and not even applied to my deductible.

As the story noted, this included even those charges that the doctor's office was told would be covered. I did have a preexisting condition, but in the first four years of the policy, I had only 10 doctor visits; 2.5 visits a year and a blood test every other year is hardly excessive. Blue Cross is still making a huge profit on me.

I'm paying more than a quarter of my annual income for a policy that covers nothing. I have seriously considered becoming one of the millions of uninsured Californians because it would be cheaper to pay my medical bills myself than to pay the bills and the premium for the useless policy.

KAREN M. CAMPBELL

Sacramento

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Under current laws, insurers are allowed to raise rates or deny coverage to people with health problems. This leads to hardships for people with such chronic health problems as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and HIV who find it difficult or impossible to find affordable health insurance.

Ultimately, the insurers' quest to cherry-pick only the healthiest of patients and exclude everyone else has led to the insurability crisis that affects such a large portion of the American public.

This could be fixed with one simple law: Require insurers to sell a particular policy to anyone who applies at the same price, regardless of their health history.

Under such a law, an Olympic athlete would pay the same amount for a particular policy as an HIV or cancer patient. With a level playing field between insurers, they could compete on efficiency and innovation, not on who excludes more applicants.

Such a law would result in one gigantic insurance pool with every American not covered by Medicare or Medicaid. It would restore common sense to a system overcome by the crazed pursuit of the elusive "no-risk patient."

MICHAEL GOOD MD

Middletown, Conn.

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