Insurance company will cover skinny Colorado tot after all
October 21, 2009
DENVER – Another health insurance company is backtracking after rejecting Colorado kids for being too fat or too skinny.
The Golden Rule Insurance Co. said Wednesday that it has changed its mind on a 2-year-old from northern Colorado rejected for coverage because she’s so skinny. Aislin Bates, of Erie, weighs just 22 pounds.
Her parents say she’s healthy but a picky eater.
The insurer announced the change after Rob and Rachel Bates brought their story to television stations. The change comes a week after a separate insurer backtracked on a decision to reject a 4-month-old boy for health insurance because he is too pudgy.
In that case, Rocky Mountain Health Plans changed its policy on considering obesity a “pre-existing condition” for babies that are hefty but otherwise healthy.
Golden Rule said in a statement that it changed its mind on Aislin’s case after a routine appeals process.
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“I won’t tell you we’ve never made a mistake, because we have. But our reviews process is open to all,” said company spokeswoman Ellen Laden. The health insurer is part of UnitedHealth Group Inc.
The Bates did not return calls Wednesday from The Associated Press. Rachel Bates told KMGH-TV earlier this week that she was “floored” by the initial rejection.
The skinny toddler was mentioned on the floor of the U.S. Senate Wednesday. Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet cited the girl and the chubby infant as examples of “absurd and unfair” insurance policies that must be changed.
He said the young patients’ rejections reminded him of the children’s tale of Goldilocks and the three bears.
“It looks like you have to be ‘just right’ to get insurance, even if you’re an infant,” Bennet argued.
Laden said the Golden Rule change was not a companywide change in coverage for potential clients, but simply a routine reversal after reviewing the Bates case. She did not comment on the senator’s “Goldilocks” speech criticizing insurers for rejecting young kids.