Chronic Disease Coalition to discuss discrimination by health insurers on KISU radio program this week

4.13.16

Chronic Disease Coalition to discuss discrimination by health insurers on KISU radio program this weekChronic Disease Coalition Executive Director Scott Bruun will appear on “House Call,” a weekly medical call-in radio program hosted by Doctors Fahim and Naeem Rahim of the Idaho Kidney Institute, on NPR affiliate KISU this Thursday morning.

The topic of the show is “Health Insurance is like a hospital gown. You think you are covered, but you are not.” 

As we know from patient experiences in Oregon, in Idaho, Washington and many other states, it’s not just kidney patients who are facing this discrimination. It’s people with cancer, MS, diabetes and a multitude of chronic conditions who are being targeted by insurers finding new ways to avoid paying for needed treatments.

And when insurers argue that they shouldn’t have to pay more than Medicare reimbursement rates, it’s important to recognize that going this route would put many health-care providers out of business. Not to mention there are drawbacks to Medicare for many patients.

Dr. Naeem Rahim and Dr. Fahim Rahim explained the situation in an April 10 article in the Idaho State Journal.

When insurers like Blue Cross attempt to put all providers of a specific treatment for chronic conditions out of network, it means those patients must travel out of town or out of state to seek treatment, and this is seen as “blatant discrimination against patients with chronic illness,” according to the Idaho State Journal article.

“They (Blue Cross) are forcing patients to change care,” Fahim told the newspaper. “As a member of the community, patients should get their services here.”

It’s not just kidney patients and cancer patients. And it’s not just in Idaho. Insurers are increasingly targeting patients with chronic conditions nationwide, finding new ways to refuse to pay for their treatment.

Make sure to tune in to KISU to learn more about stopping insurance companies from discriminating against the most vulnerable patients, and please join the Chronic Disease Coalition to put your name down as someone who supports patients’ rights to care.