Assisted-suicide law prompts insurance company to deny coverage to terminally ill California woman

Washington Times 20 October 2016
Family First Comment: DISTURBING!
A terminally ill mother of 4 said her doctors have appealed the insurance company’s decision twice, to no avail. She said the assisted-suicide law creates an incentive for insurance companies to deny terminally ill patients coverage. “As soon as this law was passed — and you see it everywhere when these laws are passed — patients fighting for a longer life end up getting denied treatment, because this will always be the cheapest option,” she said.

A terminally ill California woman says her insurance company denied her coverage for chemotherapy treatment but offered to pay for her to kill herself, shortly after California passed a law permitting physician-assisted suicide.

Stephanie Packer, a wife and mother of four who was diagnosed with a terminal form of scleroderma, said her insurance company initially indicated it would pay for her to switch to a different chemotherapy drug at the recommendation of her doctors.

“For a while, five months or so, we’ve been trying to get me on a different chemotherapy drug for the infusions, because my doctor felt that it would be less toxic than some of the other drugs that we were going to be using,” Ms. Packer said in a video distributed by The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network on Monday.

“And I was going back and forth, and finally I had heard back from them, and they said, ‘Yes, we’re going to get it covered, we just have to fix a couple of things,’” she continued.

But shortly after California’s End of Life Option Act, which authorizes physicians to diagnose a life-ending dose of medication to patients with a prognosis of six months or less to live, went into effect, Ms. Packer’s insurance company had a change of heart.

“And when the law was passed, it was a week later I received a letter in the mail saying they were going to deny coverage for the chemotherapy that we were asking for,” Ms. Packer said.

She said she called her insurance company to find out why her coverage had been denied. On the call, she also asked whether suicide pills were covered under her plan.

“And she says, ‘Yes, we do provide that to our patients, and you would only have to pay $1.20 for the medication,’” Ms. Packer said.

Ms. Packer said her doctors have appealed the insurance company’s decision twice, to no avail. She said the assisted-suicide law creates an incentive for insurance companies to deny terminally ill patients coverage.

“As soon as this law was passed — and you see it everywhere when these laws are passed — patients fighting for a longer life end up getting denied treatment, because this will always be the cheapest option,” she said.
READ MORE: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/oct/20/assisted-suicide-law-prompts-insurance-company-den/
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