And the cherry picking continues...but if you are 50 or over, you might not be one of the cherries...BD
Kent Odell exercises six times a week and eats healthy foods. He is a lean 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds and says he has no known medical conditions. His blood pressure is low, and his cholesterol clocks in well below the recommended level. But Odell is having trouble getting individual health insurance.Odell is 56, too young for Medicare but a prime age to start developing health problems.
Kaiser Permanente rejected Odell for coverage because he used to smoke, even though he quit 16 years ago. But the Benicia man thinks the reason for the denial has more to do with a number over which he has no control: his age.
No law prevents companies selling individual health policies from cherry-picking their members and setting their own rates, said Betsy Imholz, special projects director for Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports. "It's wide open," she said.
Aetna Inc., for example, signed a seven-year agreement with AARP in April to offer individual plans aimed at people 50 to 64. The policies, which begin Jan. 1, initially will be available in a limited number of states, including California. Humana will offer the new plans in 15 states for 2008, but does not plan to expand into California until the state's health reform efforts are resolved.