Monday, September 2, 2013

Insurance wars and woes

This morning's news includes a story on a gentleman with stage IV esophageal cancer who is disputing with his insurance company to cover the costs of his treatment. He is treated at Dana Farber and is pursuing alternative treatments. I am fully supportive of efforts to prevent insurance companies from making medical decisions.

Also, I am a big fan of preventing bloated insurance costs where people expect everything to be covered and then can't understand why their premiums keep going up in leaps and bounds. There has to be a happy medium while is why insurance companies need to be allowed to draw the line somewhere.

As you are aware, I do not believe insurance companies are capable of making individual medical decisions. They may employ their own oncologists and other doctors to review decisions. But unless the doctors have met with the patient and examined them, they have no idea what they are doing. At the very least the patient's doctors recommendations should be the guidelines followed. Not someone who is reading an actuarial guide and cost/benefit analysis. That is no way to make a decision that might permanently affect some one else's life.

However, and this is a big fat HOWEVER, if the treatment has not been shown to have any proven results I do not believe the insurance providers should be required to cover it.

There are all sorts of quackery theories on curing cancer and myths about treating and curing cancer. There are also many alternative treatments that are not necessarily covered by insurance but have proven to be beneficial to cancer and other patients. This would include things like acupuncture.

The problem with this gentleman's request is that he is asking for coverage for something called Insulin Potential Therapy or IPT. I googled it and the first two results were from and from the American Cancer Society showing that there was no real proof it works.

While I understand he is fighting for his life, I am actually on the side of the insurance company here. The treatment he wants has not been shown to be effective. He has a full medical team available to him where he is being treated. While he may be feeling better currently, there is no way to tell if it can be attributed to the IPT or some other reason.

1 comment:

Marlin said...

Yeah, insurance companies must draw the line somewhere. Often, what we see in the media are insurees complaining about how they are not getting enough coverage, ruining the general image of insurance companies over time. Maybe it’s just desperation working with that not so reasonable request because it’s certain that clients were briefed of the parameters before they get into a plan. It's nice to hear your thoughts about this!

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