Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

WellPoint to stop canceling health policies

By Julianne Pepitone, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Health insurer WellPoint will implement reforms preventing cancellation of policies except for incidents of fraud, effective May 1 - just one week after coming under fire for allegedly rescinding coverage of customers with breast cancer.

The recently enacted health care reform law disallows the cancellation of policies -- with the exception of cases of fraud or intentional misrepresentation -- starting Sept. 1.

The move came after an April 22 report from Reuters that said Indianapolis-based WellPoint "specifically targeted women with breast cancer for aggressive investigation with the intent to cancel their policies."

Later that day, WellPoint posted a response on its Web site calling the Reuters story "inaccurate and grossly misleading." The statement said fewer than 0.1% of individual members' policies were rescinded in 2009.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sent WellPoint a letter on April 22 calling the alleged practice "disturbing," "deplorable" and "unconscionable."

In a response to Sebelius dated April 23, WellPoint chief executive Angela Braly said her company "does not single out women with breast cancer ... Period."

In its statement Wednesday, WellPoint said the so-called rescissions, "while rarely used, are one process for insurers to reduce fraud and protect members." The company did not return a call for further comment.

WellPoint (WLP, Fortune 500) is the largest company in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. It is also the largest U.S. health plan, with more than 33 million medical members.  To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,472.37 200.36 1.23%
Nasdaq 4,707.78 80.69 1.74%
S&P 500 1,951.36 27.54 1.43%
Treasuries 1.99 -0.05 -2.60%
Data as of 5:56pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 15.38 -0.17 -1.09%
Apple Inc 110.38 0.80 0.73%
Micron Technology In... 15.91 1.14 7.72%
General Electric Co 25.47 0.28 1.11%
Microsoft Corp 45.57 0.96 2.15%
Data as of Oct 2


The NFL is the world's richest sports league and by far the most popular sport in the U.S. But it has struggled to attract overseas fans. More

After years of talks, negotiators for the United States and 11 other nations are trying to hash out final terms of a controversial free-trade agreement. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, would make trade easier across many areas of business. More

Smarties, a Halloween candy staple, have been around for 66 years. Three Millennial women are revolutionizing it. More

Spending more than you make is bad for your finances, but other not-so-obvious money habits will hurt your long-term savings. More