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Study: Health Insurance Denial Rates Routinely Exceed 20%

Health insurance denial rates routinely exceed 20 percent and are often much higher, according to a Kaiser Health News review of 20 of the most populous states and the District of Columbia.

According to data provided by insurers to the federal Department of Health and Human Services, denial rates can vary widely in individual states. In Georgia, Aetna's denial rate is 15 percent, compared with 47 percent for Kaiser Permanente and 67 percent for John Alden Life Insurance. Humana rejects 26-39 percent of applications in Kentucky, while UnitedHealthcare denies 38-43 percent.

The same insurer can deny customers at different rates in different states, according to the report. For example, Kaiser Permanente denied 32 percent of applications in Maryland, but only 17 percent in Colorado.

According to industry trade group America's Health Insurance Plans, 87 percent of people who apply nationally for individual coverage are offered a policy. However, that data includes people who are turned down for one policy but offered another more expensive option.

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