Jerome Mitchell Lost His Insurance Policy Because He’s HIV-Positive. Guess Who Owes Him $10 Million?


Sometimes, there is a god. And sometimes, there is justice. Like the case of then-17-year-old college student Jerome Mitchell whose insurance company canceled his policy after he tested positive for HIV after donating blood. Murray Waas writes: “The South Carolina Supreme Court has ordered an insurance company to pay $10 million [dropped from a lower court’s $15 million ruling] for wrongly revoking the insurance policy of a 17-year-old college student after he tested positive for HIV. The court called the 2002 decision by the insurance company ‘reprehensible.’ That appears to be the most an insurance company has ever been ordered to pay in a case involving the practice known as rescission, in which insurance companies retroactively cancel coverage for policyholders based on alleged misstatements – sometimes right after diagnoses of life-threatening diseases. … Mitchell learned that he had HIV when, while heading to college, he donated blood. Fortis then rescinded his coverage, citing what turned out to be an erroneous note from a nurse in his medical records that indicated that he might have been diagnosed prior to his obtaining his insurance policy. Before the cancellation of the policy, an underwriter working for Fortis wrote to a committee considering whether or not to rescind his policy: ‘Technically, we do not have the results of the HIV tests. This is the only entry in the medical records regarding HIV status. Is it sufficient?’ The underwriter’s concerns were ignored and the rescission went forward.”

Insurance companies’ are the death panels American should be worrying about.

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