Having a long battle to pay the bills...one more story, but the surgery did save his life.  BD

His doctors thought he was among the lucky few with pancreatic cancer found early enough to be cured by surgery. But they warned him not to have the surgery in his home city, Albuquerque. They said the operation he needed, a Whipple procedure, was so risky and complicated that it should be done only by a surgeon who performed it often and at a hospital with many similar cases. But neither was available locally.

But his insurer, the Presbyterian Health Plan, refused to pay for treatment in Houston. The company insisted that the operation be done in Albuquerque and sent him a list of five local surgeons.

Figuring that a small chance was better than none, Mr. Hendrickson had the surgery. It went well. But he was left with more than $80,000 in medical bills, which Presbyterian Health Plan refused to pay.  Dr. Bordenave said she was appalled: “No patient fighting for their life should have to fight for their insurance too.”   Mr. Hendrickson waged a long battle with Presbyterian. “I fought with the insurance company for over a year,” he said.

After Presbyterian rejected two appeals, he took his case to a state review board, where he represented himself because he could not afford a lawyer. Presbyterian showed up with two lawyers, a doctor and a nurse. Dr. Bordenave and a gastroenterologist from Albuquerque testified on Mr. Hendrickson’s behalf.

Ultimately, Mr. Hendrickson won the case, and Presbyterian Health Plan paid the entire bill.

Doing Battle With the Insurance Company in a Fight to Stay Alive - New York Times


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