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Cancer Victim Unnecessarily Dies For Lack of Health Care Coverage

As sad as it is when cancer claims a victim, sadness is magnified when the victim could have been saved if she’d had medical insurance or at least the right information on how to obtain help…

Leslie Elder had been battling cancer since 1988, when she was initially diagnosed after getting a bulging tumor in her right breast. Thirteen years later, she got it in her left breast. In 2005, she was diagnosed with kidney cancer in both kidneys. Finally, her respiratory system shut down due to a Hodgkin lymphoma. However, as stated above, if she’d had the proper medical treatment she might still be among us because the five-year relative survival rate for patients with this type of cancer has had a dramatic increase from 40 percent in whites from 1960 to 1963 to 86.3 percent for all races from 2001 to 2007.

The Cost of Misinformation

Mrs. Elder had been fighting to get Medicaid coverage and disability for a long time. She had given up on having private insurance coverage sometime ago as her premiums and deductibles skyrocketed over the many years of cancer diagnosis and her inability to work (due to her medical condition) prevented her paying her bills. Her healthcare insurance company at the time, Aetna, denies that her prior cancer diagnoses were the cause for her increasing premiums. According to Cynthia Michener, an Aetna spokeswoman, “There can be other contributing factors to rate increases for small business policies, including, for example, the aggregate cost of the entire pool of small business policies in the state.”

Her family thought that the Affordable Care Act (or as it is otherwise known, Obamacare) which is supposed to save people like Elder, would not help because is not due to take full effect until 2014. However, unbeknownst to her and her family, the Act would have applied to her case by way of the so-called high-risk pools, otherwise known as the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plans or PCIP. The pools are in place to act as a “safety net” for these cases, but many do not know of their existence. Consequently, Elder’s family spent her last few months fighting to get her approved for Medicaid when she would have qualified for Florida’s high-risk pool. In fact, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, of the estimated 200,000 to 350,000 people expected to enroll in PCIP in the first year, less than one-third have done it.

According to Jim Elder, Leslie’s widower, he did not know the details of the program and was under the impression that the pre-existing (PCIP) did not start until 2014. Apparently, the political debate over Obamacare and states suing to try and stop it has the opposite effect of what the Act was supposed to do: protect those with pre-existing conditions that could prevented them from getting coverage elsewhere. It has just confused people like the Elder family and cost the life of their loved one…

Although the subject of this post is not directly related to the scope of our practice, we take pride in using this tribune to inform those in need that there is help available and that all the necessary information on PCIP coverage can be found at

The Lawyers of Greenberg Stone and Urbano Can Help

With over 75 years of combined experience, the lawyers at Greenberg Stone and Urbano can help victims that have suffered any kind of injury as a result of an accident recover the funds they need for their rehabilitation. These funds may include money for the expensive treatments mentioned in these posts, for rehabilitation therapy, for your pain and suffering and for lost wages.

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