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Cancellation of Health Insurance

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I would like some advice for a friend. She is a cancer patient and had been insured by BCBS for many years. In Feb. she was in and out of treatment and forgot, for the first time, to pay her premium. She paid March, not realizing Feb. was unpaid. She went out of the state and in late March came back to mail from the BCBS telling her she was being cancelled if she didn't pay her Feb premium by Feb. 19th (too late for that!) Her March check had been cashed but was refunded. She is w/o insurance now and wants to know her chances in an appeal. Would a lawyer help?
Thanks for any advice for her.



Your friend's chances aren't that good. It would depend on the due date of the Feb premium. There is typically a 30-31 day grace period spelled out in the contract. However, some insurance companies are more genrous with the grace periods - they just don't advise the public. Meaning, even though they contractual grace period is say, 31days, they have an internal rule that they will accept all payments after 45 days from the due date. The average insured whould have no way of knowing this. If they had such a rule and they did not follow it in your case simply because they saw they were paying out alot of claims for this person, then they would be subjecting themselves to a bad faith action. I would suggest you draft a letter to the legal department of the insurance company and "suggest" that they investigate all past premium lapse cases and make sure they are strictly enforcing their contractual grace period. It would be ashame for them to enforce the contractual grace period for those insureds who have submitted claims in the past but not enforcing it for those insured's who haven't submitted any claims. Good luck!

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