Noncompliant HMOs harras Attorney General Vacco of NY.
Vacco threatens suit.
Judy Morris, MD comments

Date: Mon, 23 Nov 1998 08:15:49 -0500
From: judy morris 
Subject: Re: NYC Public Advocate

Listmember writes:

At 09:37 PM 11/20/98 -0500, you wrote:
I contacted the NYC Public Advocate's office about
CIGNA.  Seems they are VERY VERY hot to get
after the HMO's and Insurance industry abuses and
VERY pro consumer.  They got me more answers
than I got on my own but still not what I need.
However, they recent prompted a review of HMOs
in the NYC TriState area industry-wide due to complaints.

If you live in the NYC area or simply want to send
them a letter telling them your story and pointing out
that THOUSANDS of NY residents are languishing and
filling up the PUblic Assistance and Medicaid  and
Welfare rolls here because of LTD non-payments
PLEASE do so:

The NYC Public Advocate:

Email Mark Green


   Date: Thu, 3 Sep 1998 18:01:02 -0400
   Subject: Here's a PRIME EXAMPLE of WHY we're having
            problems with insurance companies

From Physicians Financial News August 1998

New York HMO's Warned Over Violations of Consumer Laws

More than half of New York State's health maintenance organizations have
failed to provide basic, legally required information to consumers about
services, the state attorney general recently charged.

A state survey found that 18 of the 31 HMO's in New York have failed to
abide by the Managed Care Consumer Bill of Rights, which took effect
last April, Attorney General Dennis Vacco said.

"I am seriously concerned that many HMO's are not even obeying the most
basic provisions [of the law]," said Mr. Vacco, who warned the 18
offending companies that he would sue.  "This information is vital in
allowing consumers to compare different HMO plans."

The survey was conducted between January and March.  Callers from the
attorney general's office specifically requested the contract and member
handbook of each organization.  Sixteen calls were made to each of the

Among those found to be the worst offenders was the state's largest -
Oxford Health Plans, which has more than 1.2 million subscribers.  Other
major plans cited were Aetna/US Healthcare of New Yrok, Empire Blue
Cross and Blue Shield, and Health Insurance Plan of Greater New York

"If these companies do not enter into legally enforceable agreements
with me to stop their problematic practices, they will see me in court,"
Mr. Vacco said.

The attorney general said if it comes to that, he would seek injunctions
forcing the companies to follow the law, along with penalties and costs.

(I'm not going to print the list of HMO's. All I can say is I doubt if
Mr. Vacco's "tongue-lashing" did more than have the executives and
lawyers of these companies rolling on the floor laughing.  Why doesn't
he just ENFORCE THE LAWS THAT are already written.  We're not talking about
uneducated street criminals that can claim ignorance of the law.  We're
talking about billion dollar companies that have armies of lawyers that
know EXACTLY what the law says....and how to manipulate it.  If they
treat the attorney general's office this brazenly, can't he see what
they are doing to us, their unfortunate customers?)

On a related note, Mike told me he heard that in Russia what's happening
is that some Americans have gone into joint ventures and opened up
franchises in Russia.  As soon as the business starts to turn a profit,
the Russian mob throws the hapless Americans out on their asses.
Who's gonna stop them?  I just realized the only reason our insurance
companies DON'T just kill us is because we're still paying insurance
premiums, including people who's claims have been denied.  I may have
inadvertently increased the chances that UNUM will try to knock me
off because I finally put my foot down and refused to continue paying
premiums on my individual policy which UNUM and the Massachusetts
Insurance Commission has insisted I need to continue to pay, all the while
they are fraudulently and extortionately putting me through hell.
They were still getting $150 per month out of me. Now I'm nothing BUT a
liability to them. 

Well, Paula Moran, of the Cyber-Vigilante Allstate Expose site
had this to say about insurance companies and why the media and the government
refuse to act  "The insurance industry sure has folks scared.  What of?
They're just a bunch of weak witted crooks who can't make money
honestly. True, they have a lot of lawyers, control a lot of
pols [politicians], and have the media eating their phony PR --
but sooner or later they will fall."

I surely hope they do it before people start taking the law into their
own hands and before the situation gets as bad as Russia.


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Created: September 3, 1998
Last Updated: May 28, 2000