A former senior executive with Cigna, Wendell Potter, testified on the Hill today that his former employer routinely "dumped the sick."
"[T]hey confuse their customers and dump the sick, all so they can satisfy their Wall Street investors," former Cigna senior executive Wendell Potter said during a hearing on health insurance today before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. [...]
"They look carefully to see if a sick policyholder may have omitted a minor illness, a pre-existing condition, when applying for coverage, and then they use that as justification to cancel the policy, even if the enrollee has never missed a premium payment," Potter said. "…(D)umping a small number of enrollees can have a big effect on the bottom line."
Small businesses, in particular, he said, have had trouble maintaining their employee health insurance coverage, he said.
"All it takes is one illness or accident among employees at a small business to prompt an insurance company to hike the next year's premiums so high that the employer has to cut benefits, shop for another carrier, or stop offering coverage altogether," he said.
That last part -- the insurer hiking rates on small businesses forcing them to stop coverage -- is what prompted me to drop my health insurance, or else go bust. They hiked my small business premium to a level that was practically equal to all of the rest of my monthly overhead. I had no choice.
I can't repeat this enough: Private health insurance is a criminal enterprise and the only way out is a robust public option. Contact your representative now! And while your phone is warmed up, give a ring to the Coaltion of the Corrupt & Spineless.