Questions About Golden Rule
Acquired by UnitedHealth in 2003, Golden Rule has sold individual and family policies for more than 60 years. State regulators have repeatedly fined and disciplined Golden Rule for allegedly deceptive practices. In 2002 it resolved a nine-state investigation by paying $660,000, but it denied wrongdoing. Since taking over, UnitedHealth has let Golden Rule continue one of its most controversial methods: selling individual policies through a nonprofit group. This gives some buyers the misimpression they are getting group coverage and better value, regulators allege. But states have only rarely taken formal action.
House members scolded Golden Rule and other insurers for allegedly rescinding coverage entirely after sick policyholders make credible claims. Richard Collins, Golden Rule's CEO, defended such cancellations, prompting Representative John Dingell (D-Mich.) to say: "This is precisely why we need a public option [to compete with private insurers]."
Collins responded that rescissions, used sparingly, root out fraud by dishonest consumers. That's only fair, he added, to families who play by the rules.