New Jersey Senator Lends an Ear to the Victims of Insurance Company Tactics

“As far as Kia Moore is concerned, the health insurance system miserably failed her and her 20-month-old son. Xavier Hylton was born at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden with two malfunctioning kidneys and requires daily dialysis treatments as he awaits a transplant. He had grown enough to medically qualify for that transplant by March, but Moore said the procedure was delayed at least six months by a struggle over insurance coverage. Today, she said, her son should already have a functioning kidney and be on his way to living a near-normal life.” (Maryann Spoto, The Star-Ledger)

Last week, citizens of New Jersey who have fallen victim to the ruthless tactics of insurance companies were given time to fume their anger to US Senator Bob Menendez. The stories Senator Menendez would hear would appall him, and only add to his arsenal to bring to Washington with the hopes of sparking health care reform. Although invited, no representatives from the insurance agencies were present for the meeting.

“It’s no secret to anyone that our health care system is badly in need of reform,” Menendez said. “There are few things more important to the families in this state than fixing it, making sure in this great nation of ours that no one goes to sleep without health coverage, that no one has to choose between paying for heat in the winter and paying for medication that keeps them alive.”

Senator Menendez called the meeting in light of a new health care system proposal authored by Senator Max Baucus of Montana. Central to the Baucus proposal is the creation of a Health Care Exchange composed of a nationwide group of private insurance companies that would be prohibited from discriminating against pre-existing conditions.

Currently, under the existing set up, patients who visit emergency rooms due to lack of coverage end up being burdens of the tax payer. In Camden alone, more tha $460 million has been spent over the past five years on charity cases. Because the proposal would require every resident to obtain health insurance, it also provides for federal subsidies for families and small businesses unable to afford coverage through the exchange.

This new proposal has received the plaudits of Jeffery Brenner, a local Camden physician. Brenner advocates a system that brings those emergency room patients into the system for follow-ups so they can receive the appropriate care and are less of a financial drain on the system.

“Somehow we lost sight of the fact that the purpose of the home-care delivery system is to heal the sick, care for wounded and prevent illness,” he said. “It’s not to make physicians wealthy or pharmaceutical representatives wealthy or stockholders or insurance companies wealthy. The patient should be at the center of the system and indeed should be our top priority.”

Until serious reform has occurred however, the best ally a patient can have when dealing with their insurance carrier is an experienced attorney.

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