Regence BlueShield Hit With $100,000 Fine for Screwing Over Women

Wouldn't it be cool if we lived in a state where markets were allowed to be truly free? Where we could choose whichever health insurance plan best fit our needs? And where insurers could choose not to provide legally-mandated contraceptive coverage to women without fear of bureaucrats slapping them with $100,000 fines?

Alas, we must go to war with the army we have, which means that poor, beleaguered insurers like Regence BlueShield have to kowtow to pencil-pushing regulators like Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, who nag them for not technically being in compliance with a law mandating that all health plans with prescription drug coverage have to also cover prescription contraceptives and the removal of said contraceptives. Lame!

In a more perfect world--in a world where companies like Regence BlueShield are freed up from government red tape--removing an intrauterine device from a woman's uterus would only be medically necessary in cases where it threatened the woman's life, not merely because it had passed its sell-by date or because the woman wanted to get pregnant.

Even the cloudiest days can produce a glimmer of sunshine, however, and this case is no exception. Though it ended up with Regence having to pay a $100,000 fine on top of $148,000 in unpaid claims plus interest dating back to 2002 to 984 women, consider that only one of those nearly 1,000 women "wrongly" denied coverage of contraceptive removal complained to the government.

That's right: One fewer complaint and this whole travesty would never have happened.

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