Alex C. Waldman

Alex C. Waldman is a professor of medicine at John Hopkins and author of two books on the practice of medicine.

Reuters has an eye-opening investigation today showing how the health-insurance company Assurant Health (formerly called Fortis) systematically targeted sick patients for “rescission”—where insurers pick expensive customers and find technicalities to dump them.

A computer program and algorithm targeted every policyholder recently diagnosed with HIV for an automatic fraud investigation, as the company searched for any pretext to revoke their policy. As was the case with Mitchell, their insurance policies often were canceled on erroneous information, the flimsiest of evidence, or for no good reason at all, according to the court documents and interviews with state and federal investigators.

The great investigative journalist Murray Waas is on the case here, getting hold of “previously undisclosed records” from a case that went to the South Carolina Supreme Court involving a 17-year-old who sued (and won $10 million) from Assurant for dropping him. The story was the first of a series by Murray Waas about the health insurance industry.