Six Denials From Health Insurance Companies That May Surprise You

By Alexa GellmanLearnVest

With the approval of the Affordable Care Act, health insurance has been all over the news.

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And it's not all good things. Health insurance companies routinely deny upward of 20% of the applications they receive for coverage, according to recent data.

Sure, not every claim holds water, but every once in a while, we come across stories of rejected claims that give us pause.

These instances of denied coverage and abuse by insurance providers will shock you: One father's applications for health insurance were denied because he donated a kidney to save his daughter's life, while a four-month-old baby was rejected for being "obese."

So what do you think? These denials caused media storms, but were they justified?

“Obese” Baby Denied Health Care

Alex Lange, a healthy and robust 4-month-old baby, was denied health insurance because he was “too fat.” According to the family's health insurance company, the baby qualified for a pre-existing condition: obesity. His parents were outraged. “I could understand if we could control what he's eating. But he's 4 months old. He's breast-feeding. We can't put him on the Atkins diet or on a treadmill," father Bernie Lange joked to the Denver Post.

One health insurance company denied a two-year-old New Jersey boy with cerebral palsy a wheelchair, even though it was prescribed by his doctor. The insurance company suggested trying a cane first, but the toddler can’t walk or stand up without support. Once the boy’s family went to the media to report the mistreatment, the company miraculously overturned its decision.

A man who broke both legs in the woods had to pay the tab for the helicopter that came to his rescue. His health insurance company refused to cover the $14,000 expense because the only air ambulance available was not “in network.”

27-year-old Raymond Johnson was diagnosed with breast cancer, a disease that affects 2,100 American men every year, but insurance companies wrongly classify it as a “woman’s disease.” So, Johnson was rejected when he applied for Medicaid. Now he’ll have to pay for chemotherapy and surgery out of his own account while officials try to overturn the law.

Radburn Royer donated one of his two healthy kidneys to his daughter and saved her life. And what’s the reward for his selflessness? Rejection. Every one of his applications for private health insurance has been denied because he registers as having “chronic kidney disease” despite being perfectly healthy.

Jody Neal-Post, an attorney in New Mexico, was denied health insurance because she was abused by her ex-husband and received treatment. Insurance providers rejected her case on the grounds of her past “medical history”—meaning her counseling and anxiety meds.