UPDATE: Check out the first page of the letter that Golden Rule sent to Peggy rejecting her application and suggesting she gets sterilized.
Today, at Sen. Mikulski's HELP Committee hearing "What Women Want: Equal Benefits for Equal Premiums," we met Peggy Robertson. Peggy is a mother of two young boys, living in Colorado with her husband. Over the past few years, Peggy and her family have faced not one but two shocking cases of insurance company abuse. First, in 2007, Peggy was denied coverage by Golden Rule insurance, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group (the largest insurance company in the US), because of a previous c-section birth. What happened next is shocking (Sen. Mikulski called it "bone-chilling" and "morally repugnant"): Golden Rule said they would cover Peggy if she agreed to be sterilized.
Peggy shared this story with the HELP Committee, chaired by Sen. Barbara Mikulski today, and later with us:
Peggy was horrified by the insurance company's request for sterilization, and decided to take action. She went online and found the International Cesarean Action Network (ICAN). They helped Peggy get her story out, and brought her to Washington this week to testify before Congress.
But, if that wasn't enough, Peggy's story gets worse: her three-year-old son, Luke, has been denied insurance twice. Peggy shared Luke's story (which is reminiscent of Alex Lange, the baby who was deemed "too fat" to insure) with the HELP Committee:
Luke is currently covered by a special program in Colorado meant to provide coverage for the terminally ill and those who can't get insurance elsewhere, but there is nothing wrong with him!
It's hard to say which is worse: demanding a woman get sterilized prior to getting insurance or denying her three-year-old son insurance coverage because he's too short. What happened to Peggy Robertson and her family is further proof that we need health insurance reform now - it's time to deliver.