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View Diary: My Christmas Eve Health Care Story (55 comments)

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  •  Too bad I can't select 2 answers in the poll. (4+ / 0-)

    I have good private health care coverage via my partner's employee group health plan, and I am also on Medicare because I have ESRD and am on dialysis. Thank all the Gods for the Democrats in Congress back in the early 70s who decided that it wasn't fair to make people go before real death panels that decided whether they'd get dialysis and live, or not get dialysis and die. Congress decided everybody who needed it should be able to get it, and that Medicare ought to pay for it to make sure that was the case.

    Medicare's not perfect - you still have a 20% copay with no ceiling - but it's a darned sight better than dying of uremic poisoning. Since I nearly did do just that before I started dialysis, I have personal first-hand experience on which to draw.

    And my private insurance isn't half bad. Aetna sucks a lot in a lot of ways, not least of which is Joe Lieberman, and tried to make me wait a year before starting dialysis (a wait which certainly would have killed me), but once I fought and won, by proving that I'd had insurance for the two consecutive years before we were covered by Aetna, and had had insurance from a different company within 63 days before we were covered by Aetna, they stopped squawking and started helping. The first big thing I got approved for after that was to get evaluated for a kidney transplant, and then got approved by both the transplant program and Aetna to get a transplant. Aetna sent me a letter stating that I was approved for a transplant through December 2010. If I can't get one by then, they'll have to approve an extension, but with my blood type, that may already be something they are expecting to need to do. What I don't like is that they are ending their contract with the university hospital where my nephrologist practices and where I'm listed on the transplant waiting list. I need to get a different nephrologist and find a different transplant program. This is really too bad, because UW has all my records, and because UW is really very good. I don't know about Virginia Mason's program. Swedish I don't know about either, but I have friends who swear up and down by Swedish and won't go anywhere else.

    I think it may be time to start looking at other programs, not just in my area but elsewhere in the country. Aetna will cover some, but by no means all (they don't cover the Mayo Clinic, for instance). I want to find out if they cover the Cleveland Clinic, because if they do, I really want to get listed there. Those folks are the leading edge when it comes to kidney transplantation.

    Living kidney donor needed; type B, O, or incompatible (with paired donation). Drop me a note (see profile).

    by Kitsap River on Sun Dec 27, 2009 at 04:15:44 AM PST

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