Henna Delaney

Henna Delaney has worked on consumer protection related isssues related to the health care and insurance industries for more than twenty years.

WellPoint, the nation's largest insurer, has aggressively targeted women with breast cancer with the intent of canceling their health insurance policies, Reuters news service is reporting, citing federal investigators and regulators. The insurer has used a computer program to automatically trigger fraud investigations despite no evidence of wrongdoing.

The practice, called rescission, has been used for years to control costs and boost profits. Congress has cited WellPoint, which has 33.7 million policyholders, as being one of the worst offenders. The landmark insurance overhaul is supposed to end such practices, but critics say it lacks enforcement or regulatory powers.

Focusing on the cases of three women, Reuters writes, "Once the women were singled out, they say, the insurer then canceled their policies based on either erroneous or flimsy information."

Citing privacy laws, WellPoint said it would not comment on the women's specific cases without a signed waiver from them. Reuters summarizes what the company said in a statement: WellPoint said various specified criteria trigger rescission investigations, including certain types of medical claims.