ups and downs

As many of you probably know, I had a follow up with Dr. Arbaje today. I wasn’t thinking much about it before today, and was surprised by the anxiety that lightly bubbled to the surface in the hours before the scheduled sit-down with my oncologist. The news? Not much. They are basically tracking two tumor markers in my blood nowadays — alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) and Human chorionic gonadotropin (HGC) — and they seem to be swapping trajectories. That is, the AFP is now slowly coming down, and the HGC has begun to rise somewhat more rapidly. The good news there is that the AFP is the marker of greater concern. Why? Arbaje says it’s because it is a more specific indicator than the HGC is.

Probably the most significant thing to happen while at the Oncology and Hematology clinic today was when Arbaje said, “how’s the insurance going?” I put my hands to my face to rub eyes and said, “bad.” It was a bit disheartening that such a thing even has to come into consideration. Arbaje asked as he tried to decide how soon I should have more expensive testing done — specifically a CT scan. Dawn told him, “don’t let our troubles with the insurance company affect your decisions about what Mike needs.” He assured us it would not, and advised us to speak to the social worker before we filed a complaint with the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance. So, Dawn left the little room and went to speak with her as the doc examined me (I always wonder how much he can tell by listening to me breathe and putting his hands on certain points of my abdomen). The social worker advised to move forward with the complaint, telling Dawn that while we must be our own advocates, the Insurance Commissioner would take over much of the legwork once we filed the complaint, and might help get the ball moving more quickly.

So, now, we must sit down and figure out everything that has gone on with “Assurant Health sucks” over the past five months since my diagnosis. Fortunately, Dawn has kept very good notes on all phone conversations, as well as a folder full of email correspondence with the “company.”

That’s the update for now. It’s a bit of a letdown, I know, but think about how it makes me feel. Especially in light of the fantastic news of late that Tara was given the cancer “all clear” by her doctor. She is officially cancer free! Don’t worry, I’m next.

(By the way, I’ve made a decision about folks that oppose Health Care reform — or support a watered-down version of it: they have never been through the machinations of the current health care debacle.)

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3 Responses to “ups and downs”

  1. You really should see Sicko. It’s quite informative, and it is particularly good for inspiration–it may give you some get-up-and-go to deal with this stuff. Sometimes it’s easier to fight for the good of others than for yourself. Fighting for yourself could be fighting for others.

  2. Would like to add…

    I got Assurant Health covereage about a year ago along with Group Health Insurance. A month into the policy my wife was diagnosed with cancer (honest to god unbeknown to us when we signed up with these policies). Group Health reviewed ALL of our history records and covered her stem cell transplant. Assurant STONE WALLED us, the doctors, everyone! Did not respond to how they were going to pay for over 4 months, then denied EVERYTHING while still taking our monthly insurance payments. Out of $500,000 of bills, they covered a $138.00 bill!!!! Seriously!

    They are the WORST, MOST CRIMINAL COMPANY, I have ever had the unfortunate pleasure of coming across. NEVER EVER BUY FROM ASSURANT. You may think it is a low price and a good deal now. Only when you run into a catastrophy will you find out how evil this company really is!

    • I should be clear in lieu of the recent comment from Joe: though Dawn and I did have trouble with Assurant Health (which I was not shy in writing about), once the struggle to confirm that my illness was not a “pre-existing condition” was over, Assurant became much easier to deal with and has covered all claims that would reasonably be considered their obligation — including a very helpful (and substantial) travel allowance for use during my high dose chemo with stem cell rescue treatments in Indianapolis.

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