jump to navigation

ASU Student Gets “Full Coverage” – After CEO Answers Tweets September 23, 2012

Posted by Admin in Cancer, Health Insurance.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

I am a little late to this story, but did you hear about the ASU student health plan and it’s, shall we say, ‘irregularities’?

Read this blog post from the NYTimes.

Excerpt: Arijit Guha, 31, a New York native who was raised in Ohio, learned he had cancer in February 2011 after developing debilitating stomach pain following a trip to India. During surgery, the doctors found the cancer had spread to his abdominal lining, and they removed most of his colon, leaving him with a colostomy. Since then he has undergone more surgery and chemotherapy or, in his words, been “filleted, disemboweled and then bathed in hot poison.”

Mark T. Bertolini, Aetna’s C.E.O.
Aetna Inc., via Associated PressMark T. Bertolini, Aetna’s C.E.O.

A doctoral student at Arizona State University, Mr. Guha was insured under an Aetna Student Health plan for which he paid $400 a month. The plan initially covered his care, but in February, Mr. Guha’s treatment costs reached the $300,000 cap on the insurance plan, leaving the student with $118,000 in medical bills. read more

Thank you so much Arijit Guha.

  • For taking the time and energy to act for both yourself and the rest of the ASU health plan participants during your illness.
  • For being willing to share the details of your illness @Poop_Strong on Twitter
  • For serving as a catalyst for Aetna to take action on the plan for  all ASU students
  • And alerting all of us to this ridiculously low lifetime cap that could be attached to our college students’ health plans. $300,000 before-$2,000,000 now.

@Poop_Strong, I salute your persistence,  and your continued good health!

Rep. Kennedy speaks, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee March 21, 2010

Posted by Admin in Cancer, Health Insurance, Money.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) now on the floor to give us a history lesson.

“injustice in health care is inhumane….” MLK, Jr.

[ Of all forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.
— Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.]

“Thank you to my father, MLK Jr., Speaker Pelosi, President Obama”

Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT)

Will we change the status quo that enriches health insurance companies?

We will change this today and we will all help pay!

Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA), letter from a constituent with spina bifida-“you will have to be on Medicaid all of your life-you have a pre-existing condition-you can’t afford a job!” Please pass this bill so this doesn’t happen to my kids.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), “This is not an unfunded mandate…I cannot tolerate 45,000 Americans dying each year due to lack of insurance”.

Rep. ??? “my dad told me not to let another American family lose their house due to medical bills”. I voted yes in November and yes again tonight.

Rep. Kagen (D-WI) What kind of nation are we and what kind of nation will we be if we don’t pass this bill?

Rep. Fattah: D, ‘Sunday has come-we will pass this bill”

Rep. Ryan again (R-WI) “We have offered constructive solutions at every step of the way and been ignored.” My mother in law is on Evastin for ovarian cancer and if she was British-she wouldn’t be allowed to take this drug.” (True?)

Pink Ribbon at the White House March 20, 2010

Posted by Admin in Cancer.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=breast+cancer&iid=6916077″ src=”e/b/5/a/Pink_Ribbon_Hangs_5af8.jpg?adImageId=11484461&imageId=6916077″ width=”234″ height=”151″ /]

I missed this in October! Is this good or bad? Does it cheapen the White House or indicate that we are united from the top down in fighting this disease?

2010 Expenses-Update March 20, 2010

Posted by Admin in Cancer, Health Insurance, Healthonymous.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

Insurance changes are trickling in for 2010. First up, only 24 massages per year, or 2 per month from my employer-provided insurance. And this is with a prescription!

(This was, I heard to bring it in line with other “alternative therapies” in the market). Well then. I’ll have to tell my lymphatic system to get on an “alternative” schedule, I guess!

My first compression sleeve of the new year-not covered due to an improper procedure codes. I’ll call my “provider” and see if they need a new code. As far as I know my ICD9 code and prescription on file are sufficient. The cost listed on the “EOB” $194.00. (Explanation of benefits) I need between 2-4 of these per year-as the compression degrades with use. This is a tool to manage my lymphedema.

On the other hand, I just read my first dental EOB more carefully (cleaning, cavity spotting, good grades for flossing-finally and learned that I have orthodontia coverage $1000 of “lifetime” coverage. Hmmmmm. No one is too old for orthodontia anymore-check out your workplace!

In early 2010, I leapt back into the mental health department and found a new therapist.  This costs $90/hour. However, it has been worth it so far. I forgot how helpful just the right question can be-forcing me to consider an answer to a question I had not thought of myself.

Since my weekly out-of-pocket expenses last fall had averaged $90 per week, (see post called Goodbye to 2009 under Expenses) I had taken a holiday from appointments, save the massages, in order to catch up financially.

2010 to date: $150 massage co-pays; $180 for therapist; $194 pending for compression sleeve, $180.22 paid on fall medical bills; $33.80 for initial dental cleaning…..

Total: $738.02 or $67/week for $2010.

Health Care “Providers” and the $30 Co-Pay December 13, 2009

Posted by Admin in Cancer, Diary, Healthonymous, Money.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
add a comment

In my life, I have had many more health care “providers” than I ever dreamed that I would. In addition to the two excellent surgeons that I had for my cancer surgeries, I have seen people with titles such as dosimetrist, audiologist,  and a gynecological oncologist. I even see phlebotomists regularly (oops, just recalled I need to redo my latest CA 125 blood test-the number was slightly elevated last time).

But the health care job title of the person I enjoy visiting most is that of licensed massage therapist! Regular readers know that I have a prescription for massage to treat my lymphedema. My arm always feels better after and it is usually easier to put my compression sleeve back on too. Yes, after ten years, I still wear mine.

This week’s only expense was my $30 co-pay for my every other week massage. It is very helpful to have someone knowledgeable about manual lymphatic drainage look after me, plus they have two hands to minister with and I feel like a on-armed paper hanger sometimes trying to address my own needs. Ever try to kiss your elbow? Sometimes doing your own lymph massage is just that frustrating.

Tantalizing close, but definitely out of reach!

Expenses out of pocket for week ending December 12th: $30.00


Massage for Lymphedema November 29, 2009

Posted by Admin in Blog Math, Cancer, Diary, Humor, Money.
Tags: , , , , , ,
add a comment

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=health+massage&iid=1134532″ src=”6/0/f/b/Massage_bfe8.jpg?adImageId=7903797&imageId=1134532″ width=”380″ height=”283″ /]

And that method did what?

I could ask my licensed massage therapist to hand me a glass now and then however!

Last week’s expenses: $30 co-pay for massage. Too bad my insurance coverage next year will not take my ICD9 code into consideration for treatment. Monthly totals tomorrow.

Total for Week ending November 27: $30.00

Risk: Relative vs. Absolute November 22, 2009

Posted by Admin in Cancer, Health Insurance, huh?.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
add a comment

What is the risk of getting cancer? There are two types of risk, absolute and relative.

If you are over 35, try out the breast cancer risk assessment tool at cancer.gov. There are also tools for colorectal cancer and melanoma.

Also from cancer.gov:

Absolute risk is the number of people who will get the disease within a certain time period. Absolute risk gives an actual number of people with that risk factor who will get the condition. You also may see this expressed as, for example, “10 out of 100 people.”

Relative risk compares the chance that a person with a certain risk factor will get cancer to the chance that a person without the same risk factor will get cancer. When you hear that someone is at “high” risk or “low” risk of getting cancer, it is referring to that person’s relative risk.

Relative risk is usually shown as a percent or ratio. The ratio is based around the value of 1. A value above 1 means a higher risk; a value below 1 means a lower risk.

There are different kinds of risk factors, they include genetic (I have a second degree relative with a cancer history-2 generations away), environmental (secondhand smoke exposure and sun), biological (gender, age, race, skin complexion), or behavioral (what I eat and drink, how much exercise I get).

When I was diagnosed with cancer, I had no risk factors. No first degree relatives, (in fact I didn’t know that I had any relatives with cancer until I was asked the family history question for the first time), no second-hand smoke exposure-unless you count flying in the 70’s) , didn’t come from an ethnic group at higher risk etc. Regular readers will recall that I do not have the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 mutations either. Cancer was a (more…)

Better Read Than Dead! Keeping abreast of the new guidelines November 19, 2009

Posted by Admin in Cancer, Diary, Health Quote of the Week, Healthonymous, huh?.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

How many mammograms have I had in my life? At least 26, and most likely between 30-40. I want my mammograms read and to have them be part of our new health insurance plan. The United States Preventative Services Task Force has issued new guidelines for women to follow for breast cancer screening. Their position is that too much screening generates excess anxiety, testing, false positives, and doesn’t save enough lives to warrant screening for women between the ages of 40-49.

If I had followed that advice, given my two cancer diagnoses, I might not be here to write this blog.

At 40, I had survived a cancer with a 2cm tumor (found by self-examination at age 26) and a smaller more aggressive cancer at 39, found by routine screening for a cancer survivor. I did not have any false positives, unnecessary biopsies or guilt. Anxiety, of course.

As Lynne K. Varner wrote in The Seattle Times on November 18-

“Women are not responsible for false-positive readings. The solution is not to take away a woman’s choice to have  a mammogram, but rather to work to reduce the rate of false readings.”

In the New York Times on October 20 of this year,  Dr, Otis Brawley, of the American Cancer Society, was quoted:

“The issue here is, as we look at cancer medicine over the last 35 or 40 years, we have always worked to treat cancer or to find cancer early,” Dr. Brawley said. “And we never sat back and actually thought, ‘Are we treating the cancers that need to be treated? ”

(more…)

Coming Soon: “Better Read Than Dead” November 17, 2009

Posted by Admin in Cancer, Healthonymous.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

Frequent Flyer keeps you abreast of the latest advice for women.

Weekly Expenses November 14, 2009

Posted by Admin in Blog Math, Cancer, Diary, Money.
Tags: , , , , , ,
add a comment

I have a doctor’s prescription that allows me to have insurance coverage for my every other weekly massages. Because I have lymphedema, as a result of my mastectomy and lymph node removal, the massage is extremely helpful.

Insurance coverage for anything to do with “complications from a mastectomy” is required by the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 (see the Department of Labor website  for more information)

This week’s expenses: one $30 co-pay for a massage appointment.

Weekly total: $30

Month to date: $30

By the way, check your coverage changes this month: In 2010, my company coverage for massages and chiropractic care will decrease to 24 sessions a year (“in line with the market”). Never mind the diagnosis or the ICD9 code.

%d bloggers like this: