Readers React: If a treatment is effective and relatively inexpensive, why shouldn’t an insurance company cover it?

The Anthem Blue Cross office building in Woodland Hills.
(David McNew / Getty Images)

To the editor: Thanks to David Lazarus for highlighting the real pain and suffering caused by insurance companies’ refusal to cover certain effective treatments. (“The insanity of covering a $50,000 knee operation but not a relatively cheap injection,” April 20)

Like the man who was the focus of Lazarus’ piece, I have moderate osteoarthritis in my knee and have been getting yearly injections of hyaluronic acid since 2012. These shots have kept me pain free and able to exercise.

But in January, Anthem Blue Cross decided the treatment was “no longer medically necessary.” I am 59 years old, and I cannot begin to say how discouraging and painful it has been for me to hobble around without this treatment.


I was disheartened to read the letters to the editor discussing Lazarus’ column, including one from a physician who questioned the effectiveness and value of hyaluronic acid injections. Yes, I may need to have surgery one day, but there is still a huge benefit to me from getting these injections, which my doctor has deemed medically necessary.

Hopefully, Anthem Blue Cross will cover this treatment once again.

Sandra Shields, Los Angeles

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