Anthem says: Here's your health insurance; oops, never mind

In fact, it was the reform law that required Anthem to insure Frankenberg's son. Since 2010, the new federal law has prohibited the exclusion of any child under 19 regardless of past medical issues.

In California, the law currently allows insurers to charge kids with preexisting conditions up to twice what other kids are charged for the same coverage — as Anthem is doing with Frankenberg's son — but that too will soon change.

As of January 2014, no one, whether young or old, can be charged more than anyone else for health insurance.

Darrel Ng, an Anthem spokesman, said the service rep messed up by informing Frankenberg that her coverage had been approved.

"As a result of this, we have provided additional instruction to our advisors to reduce the incidence of this type of human error," he said.

Ng also said Anthem would now honor the original call and insure Frankenberg after all.

That's laudable. Happily, it soon will be the law.

Unfriendly skies

Last week's column about American Airlines coming up short in dealing with a passenger's family emergency prompted plenty of similar anecdotes from other travelers — most involving American dropping the ball in their case as well.

Jack DeLuca of Newport Beach had a different story to tell. He said American came through with flying colors when he recently had to arrange tickets after his son had a heart attack.

But if there's one airline that appears to stand out on the compassion front, it's Southwest. I received a number of emails relating how the discount carrier stepped up when passengers needed a helping hand.

Westchester resident Kevin Ivey said Southwest employees showed unfailing respect and sympathy when he and his wife had to travel recently to Nevada after his brother died of a heart attack.

Glendale resident Catherine Montoro said she and her husband received the same level of courtesy when they had to change their travel plans after their newborn granddaughter experienced complications in a Northern California hospital. There were no extra fees and no hassles.

"You need to be with your family," Montoro recalled a Southwest service rep saying. "Just give us a call when you're ready to go home."

That's how it's done.

David Lazarus' column runs Tuesdays and Fridays. He also can be seen daily on KTLA-TV Channel 5 and followed on Twitter @Davidlaz. Send your tips or feedback to david.lazarus@latimes.com.

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