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UPDATE: Just since this diary was posted, it has been learned that Aetna-owned Coventry Health is denying a five-year old child the common surgery necessary to hear. Yes, if this child was in Canada, the UK, Australia -- or even Brazil -- he would not be forced to enter kindergarten as a deaf child while his parents beg for cochlear implant surgery.

Shame on you, Aetna:

Contact information here:


Mark Bertolini    CEO

Telephone    860-273-0123
Personal Twitter    @mtbert


Welcome to the 21st Century version of the donation coffee tin at the convenience store. When it comes to health care, cancer-stricken patients of one mega-profit insurer -- Aetna -- are increasingly having to turn to Twitter in order to get the care that will save their lives.

Most recently, a four-year old girl had a necessary cancer screening -- one which could help in saving her life -- denied so many times, that her parents were forced to turn to Change.Org and Twitter to get the thing approved by Aetna's outsourced bean counters at Med Solutions:

This Petscan is important because our daughter, who is 4 years old, was scheduled for a Petscan last week when she was re-diagnosed with cancer for a 2nd time. She was suppose to have the scan done on today, 3/8/13 but AETNA / Med Solutions decided that the scan WAS NOT medically NECESSARY.

Our lil Kyssi has been given LESS THAN a 50% chance of survival and is scheduled for surgery on 3/13/13. This scan was ordered by her oncology physicians to get a much clearer view of the inside of her body because his particular scan is able to detect ANY OTHER living cancerous cells that may or may not be in the body.

This could be you or someone that you LOVE.....We're asking for your help........

Please circulate this petition to ALL of your family, friends, co-workers, church member etc. to help us to help our lil Kyssi to get this scan and to SAVE HER LIFE.

The Healthcare act is upon us and everyone that does not currently have a carrier will need to choose a carrier. If Aetna does not support the life saving procedures that are necessary for our lil Kyssi's wellness, why in the world would anyone choose Aetna??


Not surprisingly, local news media was happy to take up this beautiful child's cause, emphasizing the role of social media:
If you ever met four-year-old Kyssi Andrews you'd realize what her parents know - what they feel: she is indeed a very special child.

The young girl was diagnosed with Welm's disease last May...Kidney Cancer...when the family was their darkest hour there was a ray of hope...Hope that was short lived.

Marla Jones is Kyssi's mother. She says, "she went into remission November 2012 and we were rediagnosed with lung cancer last Friday."

Kyssi was given a less than 50% chance of survival - her parents were moving forward with an operation until they ran into a stumbling block on the way.

Jones says, "the problem that we initially ran into was the insurance company denying her a scan the doctors wanted her to see if there were any more cancerous cells in the body."

The Andrews family is insured by the national giant Aetna.

Antonio Andrews is Kyssi's father. He says, "I never thought that one time I would have to battle the insurance company or go to social media or the news to have one procedure done."

That's exactly where the Andrews went - to social media and here to FOX 26 where we placed Kyssi's plight on the Isiah Factor...After it aired the family received nearly 5,000 signatures on their Change.Org petition.

Not surprisingly, Aetna caved after being suitably shamed:

Kyssi, though, wasn't the first cancer patient to have to beg Aetna -- and its CEO Mark Bertolini (@mtbert on Twitter) -- for lifesaving cancer treatments.

Enter 'Poopstrong' -- an ASU graduate student who did battle with Bertolini on Twitter after his junk-surance 'Aetna Student Health' policy stopped paying out for his colon cancer after several hundred thousand dollars of expensive chemo bill.

Following a robust Twitter conversation with Aetna's CEO -- during which, at one point, Bertolini belittled and insulted the cancer patient for not reading his health insurance policy like auto insurance -- the insurance giant finally paid up. But, how dare a multi-millionaire CEO say this before agreeing to pay the bills?

Mark T. Bertolini
@Poop_Strong @aetnahelp False. Why do you think the premium was so low? Do u look at your policy limits when u buy other insurance (auto)?
So, yes, in both cases Aetna did 'pay up' and do the right thing, but that only happened after the company was embarrassed in both cases on a heroic scale? What about all of the cancer patients who don't know how to use Twitter? Or aren't aware of the fact that health insurance companies need to be named and shamed in the media in order to do the right thing?

It appears that, in America, we ration health care by the ability of patients to orchestrate epic public relations and social media campaigns. Unfortunately, such rationing is embarrassing for the patients...not to mention exhausting.

Isn't being sick enough?

The ACA won't stop insurance giants like Aetna from denying cancer screenings for children; it won't end the insane bureaucracy that leads to these things happening in the first place.

Only Medicare For All can stop this insanity.

Aetna, you said you were 'sorry' for the way you treated this four-year old child and her family. But, this 'sorry' happened after you pledged to fix the broken system that led to Poopstrong's crisis.

Aetna, you have failed the American people, and forced cancer patients to be belittled in a public forum by your megalomaniac CEO.

Aetna, we're tired of your antics. And, the other big-profit insurers, we're tired of you, too!

America deserves better than your cruel -- dare I say, sadistic -- behavior towards cancer patients.

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