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Author Topic: Insurer to Pay $10M for Rescission Based on HIV  (Read 1490 times)

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Offline Miss Philicia

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Insurer to Pay $10M for Rescission Based on HIV
« on: September 18, 2009, 11:00:30 AM »
I'm surprised that this man isn't dead by now -- it's eight years after the fact.


Insurer to Pay $10M for Rescission Based on HIV

     (CN) - An insurance company's "reprehensible" decision to rescind a South Carolina man's coverage after he tested positive for HIV warrants a $10 million punitive damage award, the state Supreme Court ruled.

     Jerome Mitchell applied for health insurance with Fortis Insurance Co. in 2001 at the age of 17. Fortis issued him a policy after he stated that he had never been treated for an immune deficiency.

     One year later, Mitchell tried to donate blood to the Red Cross, which informed Mitchell that he was HIV-positive. Mitchell's doctor confirmed this finding.

     Fortis investigated Mitchell's medical history and rescinded his policy, stating that Mitchell had misrepresented his HIV-positive status.

     Mitchell sued for breach of contract and bad faith and presented evidence that he would die of AIDS within four years without medical treatment.

     The trial court ruled in Mitchell's favor, awarding him $186,000 in actual damages and $15 million in punitive damages.

     The state high court upheld the awards, but reduced the punitive damage award to $10 million based on the ratio of the projected $1 million cost of Mitchell's treatment.

     "We find ample support in the record that Fortis' conduct was reprehensible ... Fortis demonstrated an indifference to Mitchell's life and a reckless disregard to his health and safety," Justice Toal wrote.
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Offline Inchlingblue

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Re: Insurer to Pay $10M for Rescission Based on HIV
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2009, 11:42:48 AM »
I'm surprised that this man isn't dead by now -- it's eight years after the fact.

When I read about this I assumed the guy was on ADAP or something in the meantime if he needed to start meds. Of course now he's rich (!). I think the award was originally for $15 million.

The reason the insurance company denied it was based "based on a nurse writing down the wrong year of his test,"

The thing is they did not correct the situation even after this guy's lawyer sent them the correct information and they knew that the nurse had made a mistake. They probably figured the guy would not fight it.



Offline dixieman

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Re: Insurer to Pay $10M for Rescission Based on HIV
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2009, 03:10:59 PM »
I'm so glad he was able to get justice from the courts... insurance companies would drop the ball on anyone if they could possibly get away with it. Its unfortunate that in this country he had to get a lawyer to have a wrong turned into a right... this is one example of many WHY healthcare reform is much needed in this country.

Offline mecch

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Re: Insurer to Pay $10M for Rescission Based on HIV
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2009, 06:30:33 PM »
I was glad to see that story as the headline story on Huffington Post for quite a long time today.
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