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CAN THEY DO THIS?????
Aug 27, 2009

Dr. Bob,

I saw this question and answer in another forum. can insurance companies really just cancel someone with HIV/AIDS? YIKES!!!!!

Cancellation of LTD Benefits for HIV/AIDS Aug 17, 2009

I have recently been cancelled by my LTD insurer CIGNA. They claim that I am now no longer totally disabled, inspite of reports by my doctor, therapists. They have cherry picked items from my health reports and are using videos as proof. What steps do I take to appeal the cancellation and am I entitled to copies of the videos? Thank you.

Response from Ms. Franzoi

I suggest you contact an attorney who specializes in disability, explain to him the situation, providing him with all of the facts to determine what your options might be.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Not only can long-term disability companies cancel benefits, they all too frequently do! Certainly it is possible that some folks who were on disability have improved to the point they could return to some type of gainful employment. However, all too often long-term insurance companies stop payments inappropriately. Even with a good lawyer it may take six months or longer to sue and get benefits reinstated. How can this happen? Often medical records can be the triggering event. For instance, if you go see your HIV specialist and he pops into the room and asks "how are you doing today?" and you answer "much better." Well, if he writes down in your medical record that you are "much better," the insurance folks may decide you are "better" enough to go back to work. In reality saying "better" is only a relative term. You could be better than your previous visit when you were having constant diarrhea. Now you only have to go five times per day. It's "better," but far from normal! Same thing could apply to someone with incapacitating fatigue or painful peripheral neuropathy. Your medical records may not truly reflect the scope and severity of your problems. I urge all HIVers to discuss this with their HIV specialists so that the medical records accurately detail all current active problems that may be contributing to your disabled status.

I'm not surprised that insurance companies are resorting to secret videotaping of AIDS patients. It worked well for insurance companies trying to prove that malingerers with conditions like "back pain" or whatever were just trying to avoid going back to work. However, a mild back strain is a far cry from a progressive and terminal condition like HIV/AIDS! Using these sneaky techniques on AIDS patients is beyond the pale, in my opinion. Insurance adjusters who are making these determinations to stop benefits should try taking antiretroviral drugs and coping with their side effects and toxicities. I'll be they'd reconsider their decisions very quickly. If it turns out we are reborn into our next life in an incarnation based on the things we did in this life, I would anticipate these insurance adjusters will come back as pond scum or dung beetles.

All HIVers reading this post, take note! Make sure your medical records accurately reflect your current condition!

Dr. Bob



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