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Business as Usual?

Colorado’s Channel 7NEWS reports that Ron Flanagan, a Vietnam vet’s health insurance was canceled because of a $.02 (yes, that’s two cents) premium underpayment.
Frances Flanagan, the veteran’s wife, mistakenly paid $328.67 for the monthly premium payment instead of the $328.69 that was due. She says that when making the online payment for November, she hit the 7 key instead of the 9 key. A check for the full December premium was received and cashed by Ceridian Cobra Services, the Flanagan’s Florida-based insurance administrator; nevertheless, Ceridian canceled the Flanagans’ health insurance policy.
Here’s the rub: the Flanagans say they first found out about the cancellation on January 13, just as Ron was being prepped for a bone biopsy at a Broomfield medical center in connection with his struggle with multiple myeloma–bone marrow cancer– that was diagnosed in September 2008 and is believed to have been caused by Ron’s exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam..
Ron has had two surgeries for stem cell transplants and needs another by February. A donor is available, but Ceridian will not pay for the procedure. The transplant can be done by the VA hospital, but would require Ron to travel to Seattle. In the meantime, Ron may start oral chemotherapy to help manage his condition.
A Ceridian spokesperson told 7NEWS that the company canceled the policy because of the insufficient payment and that the Flanagans were sent several notices of the shortage, together with more than one grace period reminder notice, all consistent with COBRA regulations. The Flanagans say that nothing they received clearly informed them that they could be dropped; otherwise, they would have just added the two cents to the December payment.
Don’t you think a simple telephone call probably would have solved the problem? Ceridian says they “simply do not have the capacity to be able to personally call continuants and remind them of the status of their COBRA benefits.”
You be the judge.

Something to Make Your Day Just a Little Drearier,” Colorado Business Litigation Lawyer Blog, posted 07/08/10