PacifiCare denied 40 percent of all California claims in the first six months of 2009. Cigna, which gained notoriety two years ago for denying a liver transplant to 17-year-old Nataline Sarkisyan of Northridge, Calif. and then reversing itself, tragically too late to save her life, was still rejecting one-third of all claims for the first half of 2009...
....PacifiCare, for example, denied a special procedure for treatment of bone cancer for Nick Colombo, a 17-year-old teen from Placentia, Calif. Again, after protests organized by Nick's family and friends, CNA/NNOC, and netroots activists, PacifiCare reversed its decision. But like Nataline Sarkisyan, the delay resulted in critical time lost, and Nick ultimately died. "This was his last effort and the procedure had worked before with people in Nick's situation," said his older brother Ricky.
California Blues rejected 28 percent of claims in the first half of 2009. In 2008, six days before RN Kim Kutcher of Dana Point, Calif., was scheduled to have special back surgery, Blue Cross denied authorization for the procedure as "investigational" even though the lumbar artificial disc she was to receive had FDA approval.
At the time of denial, which she calls "insurance hell," Kutcher notes she had "already gone through pre-op testing, donated a unit of blood, had appointments with four physicians." Kutcher paid $60,000 out of pocket for the operation and is still fighting Blue Cross
Roll those death panel dice, baby.