Brenda in Gaithersburg, Maryland
Brenda’s story is about her father who died two months ago. She told her story with a mix of disbelief and quiet anger though she was heartened to be able to share with others what she felt was a true health insurance horror story.
Her late father had diabetes since 1995. His illness was complicated by neuropathy and multiple foot infections resulting in an amputation of one great toe. Earlier this year, his insurance company, Group Health, told him that they were dropping him for ‘medical noncompliance’ although Brenda, who’s a nurse, said this was patently a lie and they had medical proof, including doctor’s attestations, that he was in compliance. And then he had a stroke, which was compounded with multiple complications. He came down with sepsis, had to have another amputation, this time below-the-knee. Though the MD said everything was “OK”, the operation was, in fact, a “was a disaster,” Brenda told me. It turned out he was left unattended in the hallway, coded in recovery, had a head bleed, was given CPR, put on a ventilator and admitted to the ICU. He never regained consciousness. He was taken to a Palliative Care unit and though he was put on a morphine drip, he survived for two more tortuous months. All during this time, people from the hospital kept coming by telling his already grieving wife that she would be responsible for the bill. “The total bill is $69,000 and still going up,” she said.