- ‘I Am Alive’ app gains popularity in terror-ravaged Lebanon
- Gun giveaways gain popularity among Republican candidates
- S.C. hospital worker slapped with $525 federal fine for refilling $0.89 soda
- Teen from ‘Jihad Jane’ plot becomes youngest ever to serve time on U.S. terror charges
- Iranian woman forgives son’s killer at the gallows
- Nebraska principal sorry for ‘don’t tattle’ flier
- Illinois readies to spend $100M for Obama museum in Chicago
- John Edwards back in court — this time as a lawyer for Va. boy’s malpractice case
- Covered California reports more than 200K in overtime Obamacare sign-ups
- Thanks, Chuck: Hagel says U.S. sending Ukraine sleeping mats, helmets
Insurer ends health program rather than pay out big
Ian Pearl has fought for his life every day of his 37 years. Confined to a wheelchair and hooked to a breathing tube, the muscular dystrophy victim refuses to give up.
But his insurance company already has.
Legally barred from discriminating against individuals who submit large claims, the New York-based insurer simply canceled lines of coverage altogether in entire states to avoid paying high-cost claims like Mr. Pearl’s.
In an e-mail, one Guardian Life Insurance Co. executive called high-cost patients such as Mr. Pearl “dogs” that the company could “get rid of.”
A federal court quickly ruled that the company’s actions were legal, so on Dec. 1, barring an order by the federal Department of Health and Human Services, Mr. Pearl will lose his benefits.
His medical treatment costs $1 million a year.
Most of that is for ‘round the clock, in-home nursing care - for operation of his ventilator, hourly breathing treatments and continuous intravenous medication.
(Corrected paragraph:) A Guardian spokesman said policies such as Mr. Pearl’s - which offered unlimited home nursing - had simply become too expensive for new small-business customers to buy, and that even Medicaid and Medicare do not cover 24-hour home nursing. His parents, Warren and Susan Pearl of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said their health insurance premiums had risen over the years to $3,700 a month.
As a last resort, Mr. Pearl would be admitted to a state hospital under Medicaid. But the Pearls consider that a death sentence.
“Ian would be lucky, or unlucky, to survive more than a matter of weeks or months,” Mrs. Pearl said. “One-on-one skilled nursing is essential.”
Her husband, 60, a wealthy businessman, said the couple have enough savings to pay for their son’s care for a few years, and after that, they could mortgage the family’s home.
The Pearls’ younger son, Matthew, is the best-selling author of “The Last Dickens,” a novel published this year by Random House.
“Ian and Matt spend hours on the phone discussing story lines. Matt uses Ian to bounce ideas off of,” Mrs. Pearl said.
Ian Pearl became the first wheelchair-bound pupil to be mainstreamed in the Broward County elementary schools, and he was elected president of his high school class at University School of Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale.
He has Type II spinal muscular atrophy - which often kills victims in infancy. He grew to adulthood only to suffer respiratory arrest at 19. He has required a tracheal tube ever since.
TWT Video Picks
By Tammy Bruce
Team Obama's bizarre behavior helps Gitmo terrorists foil justice
- BOLTON: A 'three-state solution' for Middle East peace
- Joe Biden's first Instagram pic mocked as shill for sunglass ad
- Jews being told to register in Ukraine: John Kerry
- Obama taunts GOP, takes nationally televised victory lap on Obamacare
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- Brewer signs 1 of 4 pro-gun bills passed Wednesday
- WEBER: Obamacare cuts home healthcare for millions of seniors
- Rand and Ron Paul ride to the rescue for Bundy in Nevada standoff with feds
- CBO shows it's Paul Ryan 4, Obama 0 on budget targeting
- Nevada Bundy ranch standoff could leave dirt on Harry Reid reputation
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.