Maya Miller and Robin Fields
In North Carolina, lawmakers outraged that breast cancer patients were being denied reconstructive surgeries passed a measure forcing health insurers to pay for them. In Arizona, legislators intervened to protect patients with diabetes, requiring health plans to cover their supplies. Elected officials in more than a dozen states, from Oklahoma to California, wrote laws demanding that insurance companies pay for emergency services.
Over the last four decades, states have enacted hundreds of laws dictating precisely what insurers must cover so that consumers aren’t driven into debt or forced to go without medicines or procedures. But health plans have violated these mandates at least dozens of times in the last five years, ProPublica found.