KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Claire Benson of Kansas City, Missouri is halfway through her pregnancy. It’s her first baby, and she and her husband are thrilled about becoming parents.
But the 28-year-old Benson is dealing with a complication she never expected. Her health insurance was abruptly cancelled when she tried to update her information, KCTV reported.
Benson bought her insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
Benson wanted to update her account to reflect her married name and provide documents. She needed help logging in and called the 1-800 number for help.
The navigator on the other end of the phone reviewed her policy, and encouraged her to update pregnancy information, too.
So, Benson clicked “yes” on the form and revealed her pregnancy.
“I was just following instructions,” said Benson, “speaking to the person who answered the phone at Marketplace, trusting that she would tell me what I needed to know and guide me in the right direction.”
Benson’s health insurance was immediately terminated.
At the time, Benson was 15 weeks into her pregnancy. She was told that she would probably qualify for Medicaid because of the pregnancy. But that could take weeks.
“I’ve had to delay or skip genetic testing,” said Benson. “An ultrasound has been delayed at this point. And that’s in a simple uncomplicated pregnancy.”
Benson is a student, and has spent hours on the phone trying to straighten out the mess.
“I’ve had times I’m just like sobbing on the living room floor after getting off the phone,” said Benson.
KCTV5 went to an expert for answers. Cary Hall has been an insurance broker for decades.
“There was no reason for that to be canceled,” said Hall. “It should not have been by their own guidelines, by the government’s own guidelines.”
But fixing a government error like this is complicated.
“It’s very difficult,” said Hall. “If you’ve had a dealing with the government and let’s say it’s the IRS or Social Security, or any one of those agencies, trying to go back and unwind the mess is extremely difficult.”
We connected Benson and Hall, so she’d have the information to fight back. She’s pushing back on losing her coverage and pointing out she picked a policy, then got pregnant more than a month later. She’s currently getting conflicting information regarding if and when her policy will be reinstated. She’s now going public to warn others.
“This is reality,” said Benson. “This isn’t something that just happened to me. This is reality for thousands of women in our country. You could have your health care, your health coverage terminated, with a moment’s notice simply because you notify marketplace that you’ve become pregnant.”
What makes this even more frustrating for Benson is that she later learned that answering whether or not she was pregnant was optional on the application.
KCTV5 reached out to the media representative for the Marketplace. They declined to speak on any individual case.
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