INdiana Systemic Thinking

December 22, 2007

Teen Dies Waiting for Insurance Decision

Okay, this doesn’t have anything to do with mental health and only peripherally with politics, but anyone who practices healthcare knows what a problem this is… and not just with this particular insurance company.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette:

LOS ANGELES – The family of a 17-year-old girl who died hours after her health insurer reversed a decision and said it would pay for a liver transplant plans to sue the company, their attorney said Friday.

Nataline Sarkisyan died about 6 p.m. Thursday at the UCLA Medical Center. She had been in a vegetative state for weeks, said her mother, Hilda.

Attorney Mark Geragos said he plans to ask the district attorney to press murder or manslaughter charges against Cigna HealthCare in the case. The insurer “maliciously killed her” because it did not want to bear the expense of her transplant and aftercare, Geragos said.

Nataline had been battling leukemia and received a bone marrow transplant from her brother. She developed a complication that caused her liver to fail.

Doctors at UCLA determined she needed a transplant and sent a letter to Cigna Corp.’s Cigna HealthCare on Dec. 11. The Philadelphia-based health insurance company denied payment for the transplant, saying the procedure was experimental and outside the scope of coverage.

The insurer reversed the decision Thursday as about 150 teenagers and nurses rallied outside its office.

But Nataline died hours later.

According to CNN/Money.com, Cigna made $1,115,000,000.00 last year.  For those who are numerically challenged, that is one billion, one hundred fifteen million dollars.

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