This e-mail is literally a matter of life and death (no literary license intended)
When former Cigna executive turned whistle-blower Wendell Potter came to F&M on March 10, 2011 his presentation was attended by Scott Poole and his wife Molly. You’ll be hearing more about Scott and Molly because a number of local and non-local individuals will be working to raise money for Scott’s medical care and also to publicize this cased and hopefully shame Highmark Insurance into doing the right thing. In the meanwhile the generosity of individuals is the only thing that will keep Scott alive. Molly shared this tragic healthcare horror story with us that evening at F&M because Scott cannot.
Scott, a Lancaster attorney in the prime of life, was stricken with ALS, better known Lou Gehrig’s disease. He can communicate via miracles of modern technology, by moving his eyes, but he cannot speak or move on his own, nor live without 24-hour care, a respirator, etc. The good news is that scientists have decoded the DNA genome associated with ALS, and at least a partial cure is believed to be two to three years away. The bad news is that Scott has exhausted his lifetime health insurance coverage cap, and Highmark plans to stop providing for his care after this month. Unless Molly can raise $400,000 per year to keep Scott alive – or until Highmark decides that a human life should count for more than corporate profits – Scott will die.
Wendell Potter wrote about Scott and Molly in his column this week. He links to their web site, www.HelpScottLive.com in the piece. Please help if you can, and please pass this on to others who might be able to help. Ideas for publicizing Molly and Scott’s plight are also welcome.
Health Execs Get Richer as Some Americans Beg for Help to Pay Bills
by Wendell Potter on April 28th, 2011
… Let me share portions of just three e-mails I received this week to give you a hint. I wish I could say that such e-mails are rare.
… The second e-mail came from Molly Poole, a woman I had met in March in Lancaster, Pa. She was writing to tell about a new website — www.LetScottLive.com— that she created to help raise money for her husband’s care. While Stephen Hemsley and a handful of other insurance company executives are becoming billionaires, Molly and Scott Poole who has Lou Gehrig’s disease, are now effectively beggars. They wrote asking me to help spread the work about their plight and to assist in their efforts to raise money.
Here’s what Molly wrote:
“In short, we have been terrorized since spring 2009 with a variety of insurance company games. First we were told (by Highmark Blue Cross) that we were about to hit Scott’s million-dollar lifetime cap ‘in the next month or so.’ That was wrong, but that didn’t stop them from calling every few months to give us another ‘you’re hitting your cap soon’ scare and giving a vague date a few months out. They were always wrong in the end, but that did nothing for the panic level at the time.”
Molly wrote that Scott had been transferred to COBRA on Nov. 7, 2010, after losing his job. As that coverage was about to expire, the Pooles applied for an extension. A case manager for their insurer said it would be a waste to apply for the extension because Scott was rapidly approaching the lifetime coverage limit. After battling with the insurer for weeks, the Pooles finally got the extension, but only for a short while.
“We only have coverage through May 7, Molly, wrote, “so that’s why we’ve created a website to try to raise funds. We need to come up with approximately $400,000 a year to cover nursing and other medical costs. God forbid a hospital stay. What savings we have left are what’s running the house. We start tapping them, we lose the house.”
Molly ended her e-mail with this: “The illness itself has been a walk in the park compared to the insurance hassles. Can you imagine something that makes dealing with Lou Gehrig’s disease a breeze compared with what they are putting you through?”…
Wendell is a Senior Analyst at the Center for Public Integrity where this was originally posted on April 28, 2011.
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