Monday, October 12, 2009

You can't make this stuff up

In case you were wondering how low the insurance companies are willing to go ... according to The Denver Post, an insurer called Rocky Mountain Health Plans recently refused to cover Alex Lange because of a pre-existing condition.

Now, you might be wondering why that's newsworthy. If you've been paying attention to the news lately (and I'll assume that if you're reading this blog, you're paying attention) you know that countless Americans are being denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions.

In this case you have to look a little closer. What is Alex Lange's pre-existing condition that makes him uninsurable? He's overweight - specifically, he's at the 99th percentile for weight among his age group. Now the kicker: Alex is 4 months old.
"I could understand if we could control what he's eating. But he's 4 months old. He's breast-feeding. We can't put him on the Atkins diet or on a treadmill," joked his frustrated father, Bernie Lange, a part-time news anchor at KKCO-TV in Grand Junction. "There is just something absurd about denying an infant."
Alex Lange's story is a good example of why we need a public option: insurance companies will always favor the bottom line over doing what's right for society. Until we have a legitimate public option that forces private insurers to truly compete, they will have no reason to offer insurance to cute, chubby people like Alex Lange.

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