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Private Equity Owned Insurance Company Cuts Off Cancer Patient for 2 Penny Payment Shortfall

Stethescope and money
Stethescope and money

A division of the business administration company Ceridian reportedly cut off a cancer patient when his monthly premium payment was two cents short of the amount billed.

So far this story is mostly confined to local Denver news. It came to out attention because Ceridian was taken private by Thomas H Lee and Fidelity National Financial back in 2007. Just wait until the local media—or a politician looking to score some points by bashing financial types—figure out that there are shadowy financial groups behind this story.

From Denver’s ABC affiliate:

When she was paying their monthly health insurance premium online in November, Frances [wife of cancer patient, Ron] swapped a 7 for a 9, leaving their $328.69 payment 2 cents short…

The couple found out about losing their coverage at a doctor's appointment on Jan. 13 while they were at the Exempla Rock Creek Medical Center in Broomfield.

As Ron was getting prepped to have a bone biopsy, Frances was on the phone with Ceridian.

"The nurses were just getting ready to do the biopsy when my wife popped into the office and told them, 'Stop. We don't have any insurance,'" said Ron….

Ron has been fighting cancer since September 2008. He has multiple myeloma -- cancer in the bone marrow. Doctors at St. Luke's have performed stem cell transplant surgery twice. He needs another transplant before the end of February, and they have a donor. But because of the 2-cent mistake, Ceridian Cobra Services will not pay for the procedure.

In a statement, Ceridian Cobra Services told 7NEWS, "We did not receive a full and timely payment and (Mrs. Flanagan) was provided several notices of the shortage and a grace period reminder notice on the last invoice, along with extended grace dates as provided for under COBRA regulations."

The statement goes on to say, "Since the payment was not full, it fit into the definition in the regulations of an 'insufficient payment' ... Ceridian understands nothing is more important than one’s health ... Unfortunately, we simply do not have the capacity to be able to personally call continuants and remind them of the status of their COBRA benefits."

There's a lot more detail—including a video of the couple—over at the ABC site.

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