- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
- Senators: Cease-fire must allow Israel to defend against rockets, tunnels
- Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola catches disease
- Iraq welcomes Russian fighter jets, helicopter gunships into ISIL fight
- John McCain laments: Obama’s ‘self-pity … is really kind of sad’
- GOP offer to fix VA gives $10 billion in emergency funds
- Paul Ryan offers to repair U.S. economic safety net with a single grant stream
- Kim Jong-un builds bond with Putin: $250M Russia-backed addition to key port opens
- Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death
Insurer ends health program rather than pay out big
Question of the Day
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
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- State Department indicates Nouri al-Maliki's days numbered as Iraq prime minister
- Inside China: Massive flight woes and a missile test
- Algerian plane diverted due to storms, second aircraft: 116 missing
- Evidence shows Russia firing artillery into Ukraine: Pentagon
- Obama family set to buy $4.25M desert home in California: report
- Norway expects imminent 'concrete threat' from ISIL terrorists 'within days'
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq