Monday, August 13, 2012

Now, A Word to Insurance Companies From "Bossy" The Hotel Melanoma Chaplain Boss Queen

That will be Life and Health Insurance Companies that need to pull up a seat, please. Let me bend your ears. Life first.

I've got Life Insurance and had it in place well before my melanoma diagnosis. My husband and I knew I'd die one day and we wanted our family better financially prepared. Gee, I thought that was your purpose. So, imagine my surprise when a melapal of mine laments, on Facebook, that she cannot get life insurance because she has a melanoma diagnosis hanging over her head. I honestly thought she actually meant "Health" insurance and that made sense.

Nope. Seems she knew what she was talking about and she's not alone in encountering this problem. And it's a scary problem. Several friends chimed in with similar tales. That means this few are the tip of a rather large iceberg. Depending on the insurance company, they are denied coverage until they have been NED (no evidence of disease) for 2-5 years. I've even heard up to 10, TEN, years. All right policy makers, let's get real and serious here.

Every single one of your clients is going to die. Even you and the members of your family will die one day. Not a one of us knows when or how. Yes, those of us with melanoma have a ticking time bomb in us. Maybe. Some do and some don't. We never know until we know. We just happen to know what our potential ticking time bomb is. Many of your clients are, also, ticking time bombs, don't know it, and don't know the cause of their ticking. They do, however, get to be able to purchase life insurance. They could drop dead a month after purchasing and cost you big bucks compared to what they paid in...but...hey...they were covered and were able to be covered because they had no known serious health issue like melanoma.

I know you are big corporate entities whose job is to make big bucks for your stock holders, but I'm willing to give you a little credit here. Your "entity" is made up of people and I'm calling on you to remember that and be human and humane. Selling "Life Insurance" you ought to know the statistics of your clientele and that is that you are dealing with a 100% mortality rate. You also ought to know some of the emerging facts and figures regarding melanoma. Thanks to newer and better options and treatments, we're living longer and healthier. Not all of us, but some of us and those numbers are growing. A melanoma diagnosis is NOT an automatic death sentence for the near future.

Sell those policies when you are approached and there will be people who will rise up and call you blessed. And NOT at an inflated price either. Don't use our melanoma for your personal gain. Remember: you're people, too. Act like it. Be fair to people and you'll still have nice hefty profits for your share holders.

Now, onto Health. If you were half as smart as you think you are, you'd be far more pro-active than you are with your melanoma clients, particularly those who are early stagers, one and two. I know you aren't in the business to be "nice." You're in the business to make money, not spend money unnecessarily, and to put big smiles by doing both those things on your stock holders faces. So, let me walk you through doing a better job at making them happy as well as your clients with melanoma happy. A win-win.

Melanoma is an extremely expensive cancer and you know it. PET/CT scans cost several thousands of dollars and the price will vary depending on the facility they're done at. Doctor visits add up as do a constant stream of biopsies. The more advanced stages, 3 and 4, necessitate more visits, more tests and procedures, more surgeries, trials, and often really expensive treatments. Let's see, a round of Yervoy (four treatments) costs roughly $120,000. And that's just one of the few new drugs available. All of our "designer" drugs are costly. By the time your stage 4 client has gotten to this point you've already spent a lot of money. The more stage 3 and 4 clients you have, the more you are spending. The more you are possibly, also, changing their coverage. You're covering less and less, maybe. Making the sick pay more and more. Maybe even dropping some of them. You know the number of cases are growing, too.

At the same time all this is happening with clients with higher stage melanoma, you're also, MOST of you health insurance companies, not all of you but most, denying scans to your lower stage clients, those with stage one or two melanoma. NOT SMART!

If you were more proactive with them, you could save yourself a ton of money in the long run, make your stock holders really happy, and your melanoma clients would rise up and call you blessed. Trust me, you really do want them to rise up and call you blessed. That's FARRRRRR better than what they're calling you right now.

Your ignorance of our disease is costly for all of us. You really do need to learn a thing or two or three about melanoma. People with stage one or two melanoma live in fear of having a renegade melanoma cell loose in their system waiting, growing, lurking. Because they are usually denied scans at these stages, they don't know. News flash, and Health Insurance companies, you really need to understand this: Stage one and stage two can become stage 4 mighty fast if left alone.

Make that $4000 or so PET/CT scan mandatory for ALL your stage one and two clients with melanoma, at least once a year, twice if they request it, and you will save shelling out for those later stage surgeries and treatments and hospital stays. Promise. Maybe not in every case, but common sense says "most" cases. You DO have common sense, don't you? Right now you aren't acting like it.

It is farrrrr easier and cheaper to stay on top of melanoma, when caught, in the early stages than for it to be left alone and dealt with in the later stages. You'll also save money on those therapist sessions you pay for so some of your clients can come to grips with this disease and you'll save on buying some of the anti-depressants you're co-paying for right now. There are a lot of costs associated with leaving stage one and two alone to wait and see what it does.

I really do implore all insurance companies and the policy makers to get in touch with your human side. This disease can strike in your family, too, you know. How would YOU like to live under the policies you force on us?

I know people who sell insurance and count them among my friends. They're great people and people of strong faith, but they are not in the policy "making" part of the business, but they do have to enforce the policies that are in place and relate them to their clients...who are, also, often, their friends. That's bound to put them in uncomfortable positions.

People in the corporate and policy making part of Life and Health Insurance companies: have a heart. Remember we're all people and in this together. Remember a melanoma diagnosis can strike you or a loved one. If you are fortunate enough to receive an early stage, as opposed to a late stage, melanoma diagnosis, you'll understand the angst and worry and fear that comes with that diagnosis and denial of scans. We aren't asking for the moon. We're asking for you to do your best for us and give early stagers a better fighting chance.

You'll save money. Yay!

You'll save lives. YAYYYYY!!!!!

It's a win-win and we'll all be mighty


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