The AP (5/26, Murphy) reports, "Health insurer WellPoint Inc., which was accused of targeting breast cancer patients for rescission, said today it will offer minimum hospital stays of 48 hours for patients recovering from mastectomies." The company "also said it will provide clear explanations of benefits to its breast cancer patients."
CQ HealthBeat (5/26, Norman, subscription required) reported that "WellPoint has been sharply criticized by the Obama Administration and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for proposed premium increases and for charges that the company targeted breast cancer patients for policy cancellations." CEO Angela Braly, meanwhile, "strongly denied mistreatment of policyholders."
The new policy "takes effect July 1, although Connecticut and 19 other states currently have laws requiring insurers to cover at least a minimum amount of hospitalization time for mastectomy patients," the Hartford Courant (5/27, Sturdevant) reports.
The Indianapolis Business Journal (5/26, Wall) reported that WellPoint "is effectively putting into practice...the primary provision of a bill called the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act, which has not passed both houses of Congress." The bill's main sponsor, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), asked Braly "to commit WellPoint to the substance of the legislation," calling it a "very basic consumer protection."
The measure "seeks to end the practice of so-called 'drive-thru mastectomies' by making sure women have adequate hospital recovery time after surgery," Modern Healthcare (5/27, Vesely, subscription required) reports. Reuters (5/27) also covers the story.