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!

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.

November Expenses-Summary December 1, 2009

Posted by Admin in Blog Math, Diary, Health Insurance.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

These diary entries are to help me keep track of my out-of-pocket expenses and to illustrate some of the regular expenses of a cancer survivor. Does your bill-paying center look like this desk below? Mine sure doesn’t!

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=paperwork&iid=3080820″ src=”4/1/1/5/b3.JPG?adImageId=7974890&imageId=3080820″ width=”380″ height=”570″ /]

Total of November weeks: $209.09

Plus health care premiums of $86.68

(medical, dental and vision)

Grand Total $295.77

September/October 2009 Total: $690.68

+86.68 October premiums =

$777.36

For the life of the blog: $1073.13 for ten weeks.

BlogCatalog November 22, 2009

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

Womens Health Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

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…)

Best Health Care System in the World? November 7, 2009

Posted by Admin in Cancer, Diary, Health Insurance, Health Quote of the Week, Healthonymous.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Let’s look at some World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, shall we? The US is ranked 37th in infant mortality and 34th in maternal mortality. Maybe those two groups don’t matter to the folks bragging about our system? One group doesn’t vote and maybe the other one is irrelevant to some. Remember Senator Kyl, who stated that maternity coverage was “unnecessary” as part of health insurance?  (see my post here on that)

We don’t even begin to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) on these two indicators above. (more…)

“Culture of Medicalization” October 22, 2009

Posted by Admin in Diary, Health Insurance, Health Quote of the Week.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

I just picked up a copy of : Worried Sick A Prescription for Health in an overtreated America, at my local library. It is fascinating so far. Here’s the part that prompted me to pick it up:

Hadler argues that the public is at high risk of what he calls “Type II Medical Malpractice”, or the doing of the unnecessary superbly (as opposed to “Type I Medical Malpractice”, in which necessary treatment is provided unacceptably poorly).

I am looking forward to the chapter on Breast Cancer Prevention: Screening the Evidence”. The chapter called “The Heart of the Matter”, reviews interventional cardiology and cardiovascular surgery procedures, where he labels those procedures the “cash cows of …the American health delivery system.” was startling and makes you want to make a list for the surgeons of what not to do to you.

One reason Hadler wrote the book was to empower patients to be skeptical and ask questions about their care. I don’t know if I will agree with everything, but this seems to be well worth reading in order to improve your ability to advocate for yourself when you assume the role of patient. (often involuntarily)

%d bloggers like this: