Blue Cross of CA halts patient info requests

Yesterday, we told you about Blue Cross of California's practice of sending letters to physicians asking them to look for--and report--medical conditions that could be used to cancel their patients' policies. Well, that didn't last long in the face of high-profile press coverage. Late yesterday, after a story on the subject broke in the Los Angeles Times, the health plan announced that it would no longer send out such requests. In the wake of the LAT story, the Blue plan has faced a storm of criticism from many quarters, including physicians, patients and even Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). Blue Cross of California's letter was particularly inflammatory given that the health plan, along with several of its competitors, are facing scrutiny from regulators, legislators and the courts over their practice of issuing individual policies without verifying them then canceling them when patients get ill. Of course, despite backing off, Blue Cross continues to defend the letters as having been appropriate--but it's a pretty thin argument under the circumstances.

To learn more about Blue Cross of California's about-face:
- read this Los Angeles Times piece

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