Health Insurance Executives Unaware Of Medical Bankruptcy Crisis

Yesterday, the Subcommittee on Domestic Policy held “the second session of a two-part hearing entitled, ‘Between You and Your Doctor: the Bureaucracy of Private Health Insurance.'” During the hearing, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) asked executives of the nation’s largest health insurance companies if they were aware of medical bankruptcies.

A recent Harvard study found that medical debt contributed to 62 percent of U.S. personal bankruptcies in 2007 and that 78 percent of bankruptcy filers burdened by healthcare expenses had health insurance but “still were overwhelmed by their medical debt.” However these executives — representing United Healthcare Group, Wellpoint, Aetna, Humana, and CIGNA — sat tight lipped as Conyers asked them about the statistics.

“Ever hear of that,” Conyers asked, starring down at the silent executives before him. “Nobody’s heard of that, okay,” Coyers observed, somewhat incredulously after a moment of silence, before asking, “if you heard and learned about that, would that cast some concerns on the problems individuals are going through that the largest cause of individual bankruptcies in the United States are due to medical bills that people couldn’t afford, you’d be concerned?”

Four executives nodded in agreement. Watch it:

On June 16th, during a now-infamous hearing of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, insurance executives from UnitedHealth Group, Assurant, and WellPoint specifically refused to “commit” to ending the controversial practice of rescinding coverage after an applicant files a medical claim.