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People Left Holding Bag When Policies Revoked

Denise Wheeler, an artist in Laguna Beach, Calif., thought she and her family had health insurance.

So did Tony Seals, a self-employed businessman in nearby Riverside.

Across the country in Connecticut, Maria Locker and Linda Gaskill each bought short-term insurance policies to protect themselves against catastrophic costs.

But each was left with tens of thousands in unpaid medical bills when their insurers - all major companies - retroactively canceled their policies after they faced expensive health problems.

"It's the most devastating thing that's ever happened to us," says Seals, 43.

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