2 Yr Old Denied Health Insurance For Being Too Skinny

?? - posted on 10/21/2009 ( 18 moms have responded )

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We saw the other post - of the obese baby... now in Colorado there's the opposite happening.



http://www.walletpop.com/blog/2009/10/20...



Two-year-old Colorado girl denied health insurance for being too skinny

Sarah Gilbert

Oct 20th 2009 at 6:15PM



Health insurance companies, it appears, are uncannily skilled at creating cute, sweet poster children... for the other side of the health reform debate. Just two weeks ago, Colorado insurer, Rocky Mountain Health Plans denied health coverage of four-month-old Alex Lange because, by growth chart standards, Alex is obese.



Now, according to a report by The Denver Channel, a local affiliate of ABC News, little two-year old Aislin Bates of Erie, Colo. is getting a similar dose of rejection. This time, however, it is because she's underweight and, this time, it's a much bigger insurer: UnitedHealthcare.



At 22 pounds, Aislin, is indeed slim for her age. But, according to her parents, she's in perfect health. Nevertheless, when her now self-employed father applied for private health coverage through United, he received a disconcerting response. In a letter from United Healthcare Golden Rule that the family shared with TheDenverChannel.com, the insurer wrote: "We are unable to provide coverage for Aislin because her height and weight do not meet our company standards."



A United spokesperson quickly came to the company's defense, telling TheDenverChannel.com: "[Our growth charts] are based on several medical sources, including the Centers for Disease Control, and are well within industry standards." Besides, the spokewoman notes, 89% of people who apply for health insurance get it. Great odds, hmm?



Well, United, an 11 percent denial rate is a way bigger number than I'm willing to accept. And as I wrote before, this is a typically risk-averse approach to health insurance coverage which leaves even the responsible, prudent families out in the streets because insurance companies fear paying their medical bills. And let's consider the possibility a family is irresponsible and occasionally feeds their kids junk food (or, in Aislin's case, not enough junk food); are we really saying that they don't have any right to be healthy and free of the crushing weight of medical bills?





Soon after Alex Lange's denial became top-of-the-hour news (Alex, by the way, did an adorable job of mugging for the TV cameras thanks, in part, to his news-anchor father), Rocky Mountain Health reversed its decision and changed its underwriting policies.



It was one of those David and Goliath stories you want to rejoice in except this Goliath was nowhere near as big as United Healthcare, and the battle nowhere near as big as the one most Americans are facing with large, national health insurance organizations. Unfortunately, Rocky Mountain's decision hardly made a dent in the prospects for healthy little boys and girls in the rest of the country that just so happen to fall on the edges of growth charts.



After all, according to most insurance companies' actuarial tables, only the healthy have any right to health care. And even some of those are denied coverage as a result of charts and spendthrift "policies." Good job, United: you've got yourself a poster girl.

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18 Comments

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Sarah - posted on 10/22/2009

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Okay I might be dense, but why can't we just get rid of insurance all together and just pay for our medical needs directly and a hell of a lot cheaper? (I mean other than the obvious reason that insurance companies wouldn't make money) I don't understand, because we all know that dr visits, surgeries, medicines etc are way overpriced....

Sarah - posted on 10/22/2009

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Healthcare should NOT be a business, end of story! Healthcare should be a RIGHT not a privilege!
The whole thing just REALLY winds me up!
To me, it seems like the more well off Americans want to keep things the way they are and sod the poorer people that can't comfortably afford insurance. What happened to 'loving your neighbour'
Again i thank my lucky stars that i live in a country where i can visit the doctor, have an operation or give birth and not have to worry about the cost of it all!!

Natalie, i really hope things work out ok for you too!
You'll all have to move here! :)

Dana - posted on 10/22/2009

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That's awful, Natalie. I hope you are able to figure out something. ((hugs))

Natalie - posted on 10/22/2009

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Quoting Sarah:

It just doesn't seem right that the only form of healthcare you can get is through the insurance companies........but if you have a pre-existing condition, they won't let you have insurance.
So, for example, if you're born with a heart defect, no insurance company will touch you.....so either have to bankrupt yourself trying to pay god knows how much for healthcare......or just die????

Whenever this topic comes up, my first thought is thank DONKEY i live in the UK!! I don't care what some people may say about the NHS.....it's better than watching people die around me for lack of insurance!!!
Secondly, i don't know how ANYONE with an ounce of compassion can be against an NHS type of system!! I mean, i've said it before, i'll say it again......if ONE person can come up with ONE argument against universal healthcare that DOESN'T revolve around money......then maybe i'll listen.

I hope Dana that you don't come across to many hurdles in the future :)



I had a friend in college that was born with a hole in his heart. His parents were able to cover him only because his father was retired military (VA benefits, yay!) However, his condition requires him to have surgery every 5-6 years to replace his pacemaker. That's a $15000-$20000 operation. In 2005 he got the surgery, received a letter when he got home that his insurance had just been dropped, dated the day of the surgery. The excuse was that he was over 23 and ineligible for coverage on his parents' plan, but his birthday was almost a  month away at that point. So he ended up something like $18000 in the hole and he can't get coverage for future surgeries that he will need for the rest of his life. So I guess he will have to either go bankrupt or die.



I mentioned in the Army thread that my son won't gain weight and we can't pay out of pocket for the tests he needs to determine what's wrong. I was already scared of him getting labeled with a pre-existing condition. Now I'm terrified that I'll never be able to provide him with the healthcare that he needs.

JL - posted on 10/22/2009

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This is just absurd. I am thankful that I have health insurance through Tricare which has been optioned by the government to contract healthcare insurance for the military and its dependents...oh wait I have a form of government health insurance.



How bad could that be well lets see both my kids are fully covered but if I was going to buy private healthcare according to all these insurance companies standards I would have a difficult time, because my daughter who hasbeen in the 98th percentile for weight and height until about age 5 would have been considered obese and my son who was and still is the 30th percentile for weight and 95th for height would be considered too skinny....WTF?!?!

Dana - posted on 10/22/2009

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Sarah, could you please go to Capital Hill with your reasonable logic? It seems everyone has lost theirs.

Sarah - posted on 10/22/2009

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It just doesn't seem right that the only form of healthcare you can get is through the insurance companies........but if you have a pre-existing condition, they won't let you have insurance.
So, for example, if you're born with a heart defect, no insurance company will touch you.....so either have to bankrupt yourself trying to pay god knows how much for healthcare......or just die????

Whenever this topic comes up, my first thought is thank DONKEY i live in the UK!! I don't care what some people may say about the NHS.....it's better than watching people die around me for lack of insurance!!!
Secondly, i don't know how ANYONE with an ounce of compassion can be against an NHS type of system!! I mean, i've said it before, i'll say it again......if ONE person can come up with ONE argument against universal healthcare that DOESN'T revolve around money......then maybe i'll listen.

I hope Dana that you don't come across to many hurdles in the future :)

Dana - posted on 10/22/2009

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Quoting Sarah:

Ok, so forgive me i'm being dense on the subject......but i don't get it.
They won't give insurance because she is too thin, is that because they think she MIGHT have something wrong with her and would then have to pay out??
If that's the case, what happens if a baby is born ill? Do you not get healthcare because no insurance company will provide it because the baby is already sick at birth??



If you don't already have healthcare then yes, you will have a hard time finding a company that will insure a sick baby.  My son Ethan  was premature and I forsee a difficult future when we don't have the same insurance anymore.  Although he has no problems coonnected to his prematurity, they will still use it as an excuse.  That is one of the many reasons we atleast need healthcare reform.  President Obama wants to change it so we can't be refused because of pre-existing conditions.  Sorry for the bold print, I just wanted to use it for the reform sentence but it won't come off, no matter what I do.  lol

Sarah - posted on 10/22/2009

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Ok, so forgive me i'm being dense on the subject......but i don't get it.
They won't give insurance because she is too thin, is that because they think she MIGHT have something wrong with her and would then have to pay out??
If that's the case, what happens if a baby is born ill? Do you not get healthcare because no insurance company will provide it because the baby is already sick at birth??

Sarah - posted on 10/21/2009

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that is ridiculous! I am naturally underweight (I have extremely high metabolism and have tried special diets, but nothing works) and Colin was born early and only 3 lbs 7... so now at almost 15 months he is not quite 15 pounds... He is no where near the growth chart for weight, but there is no concern with his doctor because he is gaining at a good rate. So he wouldn't qualify for health insurance if I needed to find new... (especially since we are in CO and thats where the problems seem to be occuring lately) How stupid

Jenny - posted on 10/21/2009

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Who cares what weight you are at 2 outside of malnutrition levels of course? My daughter was was lower 20 pounds too at that age and just crossed 40 pounds at 6 3/4 years. She eats healthy and exercises all day through play.



There is no reason to excuse giving a 2 year old medical care.

Dawn - posted on 10/21/2009

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My daughter at age 2 was 23lbs and they question it but with pettie family members on both side they figured it was genetics. My son was skinny too. I just got back from the doctor any my 18m is 23lbs. LOL But my kids doctor is really great and she is very understanding about the weight issues.

Dana - posted on 10/21/2009

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I'm going through the same thing with Ethan. He's in the 25% for weight and over 75% for height. Some of the nurses look at me like"what are you NOT doing". It's annoying especially since he has a "supposed" grain intolerence and I feel bad enough trying to find things for him to eat. Trust me though, he eats plenty.....

Jodi - posted on 10/21/2009

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Dana, I had the nurse giving me 20 questions about my daughter when I took her for her 4 year old vaccinations, because of her weight. I felt like I was being treated like I had abused my daughter for allowing her to be such a low weight. What am I supposed to do? Feed her so many calories a day that she will be in what the charts consider "normal"? How the heck is that "healthy" if I just fill her full of carbohydrates and sugar instead of giving her the balance diet I give her now???" She is not normal weight. That's who she is. She was born full term at 3rd percentile, and has really stayed around that range (she is 50th percentile height). I am comfortable with it, if I thought for a moment it was a problem I'd be the first person to be finding a solution.



To base anything on the normal range in a statistical 'normal' curve is a form of stereotyping and discrimination. You are absolutely right. Individual cases should be reviewed before they are rejected outright.

Dana - posted on 10/21/2009

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This is one of the many reasons insurance companies suck. A growth chart? I think they at least should look at individual cases if they are going to have issues with weight being too high or too low. As far as them changing the policy for Alex, that's great, but what about all the other children out there who don't have a father who works for a news program.

Jodi - posted on 10/21/2009

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22lb at age 2? I have no idea how much my daughter weighed when she was 2, but I know when she was 4 she was only aoound 30lb, and she has been in the 3rd percentile most of her life. Is there something wrong with her? NO!!!! I was also in that lower 5% all my life as well (the only time I have been what they consider the correct weight range for height was when I was pregnant). Some people are just genetically thin, but are perfectly healthy. For instance, my daughter has hardly been sick in her life. She has had the occasional cold, with runny nose, etc, and a couple of ear infections, but except when she was born, has never spent a day in hospital.



This case is just as bad as denying an overweight baby. Using charts and statistics is an unfair way of assessing for insurance. Do they really think an underweight child is more likely to get sick than a normal weight child?



You know what really scares me? If these health and life insurance companies can get hold of DNA. They would have a field day, and the population would be screwed.

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