EMT: Employer took insurance payments

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BELLOWS FALLS -- A former LeFevre Ambulance Service employee is accusing the company of stealing the insurance payments from his paycheck to help make payroll, leading the insurance company to cancel his policy.

Gregory Malone received a letter from MVP Health Care telling him that his policy was terminated just after his wife gave birth to the couple’s first child.

Now, with bills piling up for the mother and child due to complications brought on from the birth, Malone is talking to local, state and federal authorities to try to get the company to back pay the insurance money to get the coverage for his wife and child.

"I did everything I was supposed to do. I made the payments every week," Malone said as he pointed to the line on past payroll stubs showing that $151.52 was taken out. "But where did the money go?"

Malone said LeFevre Ambulance Director David Booth admitted that a former office employee had used the insurance payments to help meet the company’s financial obligations, and according to Malone, the company promised to get the past due payments to MVP Healthcare.

Booth refused to comment on Malone’s claim, saying in a short telephone interview, that since the police were investigating the case, he could not say anything about the situation.

MVP has promised to reinstate the insurance if the money is paid, Malone said, though the company’s policy is usually to give organization’s only 90 days to make past due payments.

A spokesman for MVP also was limited in what information he was allowed to release, due to health insurance privacy laws.

He could only confirm that LeFevre’s entire policy was canceled on April 30.

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Malone was an EMT intermediate and lieutenant training officer with the Bellows Falls-based ambulance service from August 2008 through June 2009.

Federal and state COBRA health insurance laws require companies to offer alternative insurance options if an employee’s policy is canceled but Malone was never told about losing his coverage until he received the letter from MVP on May 4.

Malone’s baby will need specialized surgery in his first year because of a birth defect and the couple has been meeting with specialists in Boston.

They are worried that if they go with another insurance company, the baby’s situation would be considered a pre-existing condition and the company might not cover the operation.

Malone called the Bellows Falls Police Department, the Windham County State’s Attorney’s office, the Attorney General’s office, as well as the FBI.

"Our baby needs surgery and the bills are piling up," Malone said. "The surgery needs to happen and we don’t have the money to pay for it."

Malone’s wife Angelina said the experience has been frustrating and disheartening.

The company has been leading the couple on for weeks, and with law enforcement authorities offering little help, and her baby’s operation getting closer every day, she said things are getting desperate.

"We don’t know what else to do. We don’t want the money back, we just need the coverage," she said. "We’re worried about our baby. We already owe $22,000 and we don’t have $22,000. If they don’t take care of this, we are really going to be in trouble."

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at hwtisman@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 279.


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