UnitedHealth Care: Minnesota company unites in deserting the insured


If your insurance company is denying your health care claims, it pays to be a California resident. Since 2006, California’s Department of Managed Health Care has been investigating consumer complaints about insurance being snatched away when it’s most needed, like in the middle of chemotherapy, for example. One of the most egregious companies, according to a number California claims? Minnesota’s own insurance monolith, UnitedHealth Care.

California has gained national attention recently for ordering insurance companies to pay up. And now “online activism,” including repeated calls from the California Nurse’s Association, has forced PacifiCare, a California insurer under UnitedHealth Group (aka the worst insurance company in the country, according to a recent survey of hospitals) to pay for a 17-year-old boy’s cancer treatment. The boy, Nick Columbo, has bone cancer.

Yesterday, both the Daily Kos and the Consumerist wrote about how UnitedHealth was denying Columbo what’s known as CyberKnife treatment, which his doctors had recommended.

Later in the day, a spokesperson for the Minnesota company told the Consumerist that the decision to deny the boy doctor-recommended treatment had been reversed. And he added the unrepentant caveat that Columbo’s case was being used as a “political tool.”