Friday, April 2, 2010


From the Huffpo Investigations Fund:

Heather Galeotti was hit by a car and rushed to the hospital, where she lay in a coma in the intensive care unit. Her health insurance company, Kaiser Permanente, told her family that she was covered through her father's group plan. But five months later, they received a letter from Kaiser. Her policy had been retroactively terminated and they owed more than $4 million in hospital bills.

It's a hole in the health care reform bill that was never discussed. The new bill bans retroactive decisions by insurers in policies sold to individuals, except in cases of fraud. However, as it stands the ban would not apply to group policies, such as the one held by the Galeotti family, which cover some 150 million Americans. Why? Because most experts think it can't happen. This case, reported for the first time at the Huffington Post Investigative Fund, shows that -- even in the group market -- people might be vulnerable.

This story came to the Huffington Post Investigative Fund through its citizen journalism project, which seeks to shed light on the inner workings of the insurance industry. Former and current employees at Kaiser responded to the Fund's online requests for help from insiders. Their tips led the Investigative Fund to identify the Galeotti family and obtain records of the case, including internal Kaiser e-mails.

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