On June 19 we published an article in Salon Technology & Business titled "Can the Net Be Trusted?" The article focused on an online campaign to help Marcia Blake, a business consultant now living in New Mexico who is involved in a dispute with a California healthcare provider. The campaign is organized by Keith Dawson, who maintains the "Tasty Bits From the Technology Front" site and newsletter.
Our story contained a number of factual errors that, put together, invalidate its initial premise questioning Blake's description of her situation as "uninsured and uninsurable" and Dawson's care in checking out her story before setting out to help her.
Specifically, though our story declared "Blake was covered (under COBRA) through Oct. 1, two months after she left California," her coverage was under Cal-COBRA and thus did not continue once she left the state.
Our story also declared, "The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which Congress passed in 1996, prohibits insurers from denying coverage based on preexisting conditions." Though this act does limit the denial of coverage based on preexisting conditions, it does not prohibit such denial.
Finally, though Kaiser Permanente, the health insurer in question, told our reporter that it would have paid for Blake's surgery if she had flown back to California, Blake disputes this, and has provided us with documents supporting her version of the events.
We're sorry these mistakes led Salon to question the thoroughness with which Dawson reviewed Blake's cause before taking it up. We wish Blake the best in her effort to obtain the medical care she seeks, and though we're regretful that we failed to get the story right the first time, we're heartened that Blake does report progress in her dispute since it has received attention from Salon and other media.