Sebelius urges WellPoint to maintain coverage for breast cancer patients

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HHS Secretary and former Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.
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In a letter to health benefits provider WellPoint, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is urging the payor to end its practice of dropping health insurance coverage for women with breast cancer.

The letter follows a report from Thomson Reuters indicating that the Indianapolis-based payor “has specifically targeted women with breast cancer for aggressive investigation with the intent to cancel their policies,” a practice in which Sebelius referred to as both “disturbing” and “deplorable.”

Sebelius noted that in the fall, the Affordable Care Act will ban such rescissions, except in cases of intentional misrepresentation of material fact or fraud.

Writing that she was “surprised and disappointed” at the Reuters report, Sebelius said, “WellPoint should not wait to end the unconscionable practice of deliberately working to deny health insurance coverage to women diagnosed with breast cancer.”

Noting that breast cancer will affect one in eight American women during their lifetime, Sebelius implored WellPoint to "consider these women and their families as you work to end this harmful practice.”