Insurer Owes Patient $9M for Ending Policy

Calif. firm canceled her plan in the middle of chemo treatments
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2008 9:36 AM CST
A patient receiving a mammogram.   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A California health insurance company owes a breast cancer patient $9 million in damages after it canceled her policy in the middle of chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer, the LA Times reports. The arbitration judge called Health Net’s actions “despicable." The hefty ruling, the largest of its kind, sends a warning to other insurers who try to cut costs by weeding out sick clients, analysts say.

"Health Net was primarily concerned with and considered its own financial interests and gave little, if any, consideration and concern for the interests of the insured," said the judge, who expressed outrage at bonuses for canceling policies. The woman, 52, had to stop chemo treatments until a charity paid for them. "I praised the Lord," she said yesterday upon news of the ruling.