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April 2006 Vol. 32, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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DAN-Insured Divers Remain Fully Covered in Chamber Dispute

from the April, 2006 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

As we reported in February, many SSS Recompression chambers are refusing to accept Divers Alert Network (DAN AMERICA) insurance. They now include chambers in Nassau, Bahamas; Cabo San Lucas, Cancun, Cozumel and Playa del Carmen, Mexico;Ambergris Cay, Belize; Galapagos; and Thailand. They are refusing because they don’t believe DAN is willing to pay a fair price for treatment.

But DAN policyholders shouldn’t worry. They will not be refused treatment. And DAN will pay whatever is required. DAN CEO Dan Orr told Undercurrent, “As soon as we know that a member is being treated, we will liaise with the treating facility and arrange for payment. If the facility, for whatever reason, rejects our offer of immediate payment and the member has to put any charges on their credit card, DAN’s insurer will arrange payment to the member or the member’s credit card regardless of whether or not DAN’ s insurance is primary or secondary.”

Refusing to accept DAN insurance may be part of a strategy in the breach of contract filed last May. SSS (and Quantum Processing Service) alleges that “Pursuant to an oral agreement . . . a discount from the usual and customary charges for hyperbaric recompression usage . . . was given to DAN America for prompt payment of claims . . . When DAN . . . failed to promptly and properly pay claims, Quantum rescinded the discount in 2004 and began billing Defendants the full and customary charges. These rates are reasonable for the medical services rendered … and previously paid by the Defendants and other medical health insurers in North America.”

SSS has taken its case to the streets, recently issuing a press release stating: “DAN America has claimed a rate dispute as the reason for nonpayment, saying that the rates are above what DAN America considers reasonable and customary in the locality. However . . . Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humana, Prudential and Kaiser Permanente, and DAN Europe . . . have accepted these same rates as appropriate and paid their bills.”

They try to discredit DAN in the release by telling people that DAN’s insurance business is for profit, which DAN does not hide. After all, insurance profit goes to DAN, the nonprofit, for its programs.

DAN says SSS is trying to “to intimidate and frighten DAN members” and by refusing to accept DAN insurance, “SSS is attempting to place the burden of payment on the diver in order to gain leverage to force DAN’s insurer to accept higher treatment charges.”

So, while Orr assures us that DAN policyholders should not be concerned and DAN will stand them, it would be wise for DAN policyholders — hell, any dive insurance policyholder — to carry credit cards with high limits. Typical chamber treatments run $15,000 or more. If there are misunderstandings or communication glitches, you will be assured of swift treatment and can apply for reimbursement later.

The DAN/Quantum lawsuit goes to trial in May if it isn’t settled by mediation.

PS: In an upcoming issue, we will provide an updated comparison of dive accident insurance offered by DAN and its chief competitors.

– Ben Davison

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