7Investigates: Girl Listed as Dead By Insurance Provider

Does Delaysha Pomales look dead to you? Obviously not.

But in 2011, when she was about two months old, and seriously ill with respiratory and digestive problems, her mother, Frances, tried to bring her to doctors’ appointments, but she was turned away. They said she had no health insurance.

“It’s the worst feeling in the world,” Frances said.

Shocked, she called MassHealth, who she thought was her daughter’s health insurance provider. They told her their computer system listed Delaysha as dead.

The state promised they’d fix it, so Frances rescheduled those doctors’ appointments, but again, she was told she had no health insurance.

“I was angry,” Frances said. “I was really angry.”

Frances panicked, and she called MassHealth again. They said they had taken care of the problem. But they had not.

Delaysha grew from an infant to a toddler to a little girl, but she didn’t get well.

You’d think all Frances would have had to do is say, “She’s alive, here she is.” But that isn’t what happened.

An apparent glitch in the system, according to MassHealth, stayed a glitch no matter what Frances did.

Frances tried to pay the bills herself, tens of thousands of dollars, but without health insurance, expensive scans were delayed, biopsies postponed, and medical visits cancelled.

“Nothing should stop a parent from being able to get their child some health insurance,” Frances said.

All the while Frances says she kept complaining to MassHealth, so often saying, “My daughter isn’t dead,” that some customer service reps thought she was delusional.

“They thought I was crazy every time I’d call,” Frances said.

But no one at MassHealth could get the computer system to permanently bring Delaysha back to life. She needed more health care, but the computer insisted she was dead … for seven years.

So Frances then made one more phone call, and it was to a lawyer. He told 7News he called and wrote but no one helped. Finally, he emailed 7News, and we called MassHealth.

After that call, they finally agreed Delaysha is alive, and now they’ve reinstated her health insurance and are now paying back her medical bills.

“Nothing that I did or anything that I tried worked out until I reached out to you guys,” Frances said.

MassHealth told us they apologize to Frances and her family for what they call an “administrative error” that was “not acceptable.” They claim no other patients have been incorrectly listed as dead.

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