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Insurance Commissioner Accuses Blue Cross of Illegally Canceling Policies


Aired 4/19/09

Health insurance companies in California need to clean up their act. That's the word from State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner. He's seeking a $12.6 million fine against Blue Shield for illegally cancelling policies. And Poizner says other insurers had better watch out. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has more.

Steve Poizner says consumer complaints prompted his department to do a year-long audit of Blue Shield. He says the audit revealed more than 12-hundred violations of the law. Half of them were due to terminating policies after people filed medical claims. Blue Shield argues its practices comply with the law. Poizner says that's ridiculous.

Poizner: The law is crystal clear. Companies like Blue Shield cannot cancel people's insurance after the fact. That's wrong. That's illegal, and I'm going to stop it.

Blue Shield calls the charges unfair and says it will defend itself in court. Poizner says his agency will audit all health insurers in the state to make sure they're not cancelling coverage illegally. 

Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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