7 On Your Side

A health insurance nightmare

Friday, May 11, 2012

An Orange County wife and mother went under the knife for major surgery and found out afterward her insurance had lapsed.

Turns out while the healthcare premiums were being taken out of the paycheck, that money was getting pocketed and leaving Kimberly and Rob Beaulieu on the hook for thousands of dollars.

"I asked him before she had the surgery. I said. 'Is everything?' Ok. He said everything was good," Rob Beaulieu said.

But everything was not good, despite the reassurance he says he got from his boss, Bob Cole, the general manager of Village Ford in Pine Bush where Rob worked for 10 years.

Employees were paying premiums to cover their families health care every pay period, yet Village Ford hadn't paid its insurance bill in months and last May coverage was terminated.

"We found out a month after my surgery there was no insurance," Kimberly Beaulieu said.

Kim was shocked. Her gall bladder surgery was pre-certified end of April, but by time she had the operation on May 3, coverage was cancelled.

Now the Beaulieus are in collections, stuck with a 43-hundred dollar medical bill.

"It's another bill we can't afford to pay," Rob said.

So we went up to Village Ford looking for the former friend who they say steered them wrong. He told us to "go away." He didn't want to show his face, sending out Village Ford owner John Rozema instead.

"Because Aetna didn't cover it," Rozema said.

The insurance is with Blue Cross, not Aetna and reps there confirmed coverage lapsed because the bill wasn't paid.

Premiums are paid through the New York Auto Dealers Association, which told us Village Ford has a history of debt problems. The association actually stepped in cover the lapse once, but could not continue to pick up the slack.

The dealership owner admitted payments were late, but said he was unaware insurance lapsed. The state forced the dealership to refund the Beaulieu's premiums. They received $350, but owe thousands.

This story doesn't end here. The New York State Department of Labor told us it's currently investigating this dealership for non-payment of health premiums. If it rules against them the dealer will have to pay the Beaulieu's medical expenses and a 5 thousand dollar fine.

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