New data from the federal Department of Health and Human Services shows that a large number of health insurance applications sent to Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield are rejected. While rejections are not uncommon in the insurance business, the rate at which insurers are denying applicants has raised the concerns of federal regulators. Reportedly, some of these rejections are spurred by what may appear to be minor events, such as an applicant visiting an emergency room because of injury or going to see a chiropractor for back pain.
According to the HHS, denial rates routinely surpass 20% throughout the whole of the country. The latest data accounts for the first three months of 2011 and shows that, in many cases, denial rates far exceed the 20% margin. The data suggests that obtaining health insurance is far more difficult than how it is portrayed by some in politics or the media. The data shows that two insurance companies stand out from the rest for having the highest denial rates in the country. John Alden Life Insurance and Time Insurance, both subsidiaries of Assurant Health, account for 70% and 53% rejection rates, respectively.
This data has generated a great deal of opposition from insurers nationwide who claim that the information offered by the HHS is misleading. The Department of Health and Human Services notes that the information is important for consumers as it furthers their understanding of the industry as a whole.
Information on denial rates can be found via healthcare.gov.