Even as Congress debates whether to overhaul the nation’s health care system or to wait for ObamaCare to fail, few lawmakers are talking about the hidden health care crisis many Americans with health insurance are already facing: denied coverage.
While much attention has been paid to rising premiums and pre-existing conditions, a growing number of insured Americans with chronic or persistent conditions—up to 53 million—risk being denied coverage for medications, tests and procedures to treat their illness.
I was recently commissioned to conduct a nationwide poll of insured Americans by the Doctor-Patient Rights Project (DPRP), a new health care advocacy coalition. The results were alarming and disheartening.
When insurance companies—not doctors—become the arbiters of patient health, no one should be surprised that cost concerns are prioritized. Yet even with losses from ObamaCare mandates, health insurance companies’ net income rose to $13.1 billion in 2016, up 46 percent from the year before.
Not only did it find that coverage denials for treatment of chronic conditions were widespread and common, the results suggest that those most in need of quality health care—patients treating serious chronic or persistent diseases—are most frequently denied treatment coverage by their insurers.
Ironically, these denials worsen the conditions for many patients and create an even larger health care expense…