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Health Insurer Blasts Article About Rescissions

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A California insurer says a wire service article misrepresented its efforts to detect insureds who may have filed inaccurate applications for health coverage.

Reuters, a unit of Reuters Thomson Inc., New York, ran an article today by a team that alleges that WellPoint Inc., Indianapolis (NYSE:WLP), rescinded the policies of women who filed claims for breast cancer based on what the women say was “erroneous or flimsy information.”

WellPoint representatives contend that the Reuters team incorrectly reports that the company has singled out women with breast cancer for aggressive investigation with the intent of cancelling their insurance.

“This is simply wrong,” WellPoint representatives say in a statement.

WellPoint has used software to “look at a series of diagnostic codes meant to capture conditions that applicants would likely have known about at the time they applied for coverage,” company representatives say. “We do not single out breast cancer or pregnancy.”

The Reuters team reported that WellPoint lobbied against requiring a third-party review of company decisions to rescind a customer’s policy, WellPoint representatives say.

“WellPoint did not lobby against that issue,” the representatives say.

Representatives for Reuters were not immediately available to comment on WellPoint’s response to the article.