That Baby Should Learn About Personal Responsibility
(This post is part of my role as a blogger fellow for Brave New Films' Sick For Profit campaign)
Rocky Mountain Health Plans, an insurance company in Colorado, has denied coverage to a four month-old child on account of "obesity." How dare the kid not moderate his portions!
By the numbers, Alex is in the 99th percentile for height and weight for babies his age. Insurers don't take babies above the 95th percentile, no matter how healthy they are otherwise.
"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," joked his frustrated father, Bernie Lange, a part-time news anchor at KKCO-TV in Grand Junction. "There is just something absurd about denying an infant."
Bernie and Kelli Lange tried to get insurance for their growing family with Rocky Mountain Health Plans when their current insurer raised their rates 40 percent after Alex was born. They filled out the paperwork and awaited approval, figuring their family is young and healthy. But the broker who was helping them find new insurance called Thursday with news that shocked them.
" 'Your baby is too fat,' she told me," Bernie said.
Rocky Mountain Health Plans' alibi is that as long as everybody denies coverage for a pre-existing condition, they will too.
So essentially, the insurance industry is telling this family to starve their child as the only way to get him health insurance.
That, or the baby should learn some personal responsibility and take care of himself better. Maybe push-ups.
UPDATE: A happy ending on this one. Rocky Mountain Health plans relented and will no longer consider an infant's added heft a pre-existing condition. Unfortunately, there aren't enough newspaper articles in the world to help everyone abused by the insurance industry.