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Capitol Health Call
August 12, 2009

Rescinding Coverage

JAMA. 2009;302(6):619. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1124

Members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation grilled executives from 3 health insurance companies during a June 16 hearing about the practice known as rescission—cancelling coverage of policyholders who require medical care.

The executives testified that when underwriting risk, an insurer needs accurate medical information for policyholders and that coverage may be rescinded if the information provided is inaccurate or misleading. Subcommittee Chair Bart Stupak (D, Mich) said that while rescission is basically legal, it is often unfair, such as the rescission of coverage for policyholders who allegedly fail to disclose a previous condition unrelated to their current medical problem or who do not disclose a medical condition that their physician documented but did not discuss with them.

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