That is the headline. Fat Baby Denied Health Insurance. And that was the reality too. Alex never had a voice in the media fire storm that struck my household and my place of work this week but his story was louder than a town hall meeting shout down.
I hope his story is one that will help millions of people who have had their lives torn apart by a faulty health care system.
I am a part time employee of KKCO so I don’t qualify for the group plan. I couldn’t afford my previous plan anymore so I started looking for better rates. I found one through a local HMO, Rocky Mountain Health Plans (RMHP). I submitted the application on behalf of myself and my two boys Vincent, age two and Alex, four months. The last documents I submitted were Alex’s last wellness exam and immunization records. Two days later the broker I was going through called me up and said they could cover myself and Vincent but Alex would not be covered because he was in the 99th percentile of height and weight, according to CDC guidelines used by RMHP. This made him uninsurable.
“He’s too fat," said the broker on the other end of the phone. I seethed and shouted back at her, knowing that she was more or less a messenger of bad news than the responsible party. After apologizing and hanging up I didn’t know what else to do. I felt helpless and angry, so I pitched the story at our morning news meeting. KKCO did the story; it was picked up by the Denver Post and then by, quite literally, the rest of the world.
I’d like to think Alex’s story would have a lasting impact on the need for health care reform or at the very least contribute to the debate. Thankfully RMHP conceded the fact that Alex was denied because of a ridiculous guideline used by the Center for Disease Control and they changed their policy. Its too bad it took the threat of bad press coverage to influence the change because millions of people don’t have the media at their disposal.
I would encourage any one who has had to deal with similar health care issues to contact their local Congressman or Senator. Regardless of where you stand on the issue of healthcare politically, there are serious problems that need to be ironed out sooner than later. Too many people will continue to suffer physically and financially without changes.