Chances are, you have not met anyone like Laurie Todd before. There is no one like her. Her story is a unique one, and yet, like hundreds of others, she had to fight her insurance company to fight for her life.
In 2005, Laurie was diagnosed with late-stage appendix cancer, rushed into surgery, and given months to live. Her oncologist told her there was no treatment for her disease, and even if there had been, insurance wouldn’t pay for it.
Laurie stood her ground, pulled up her sleeves, and got to writing the most important letter of her life. This letter was no ordinary letter. It was a 23-page appeal letter to her insurance company in order to save her life. Shortly after sending her appeal in, she received a phone call from her insurance company. She had won her appeal.
It didn’t take long for the news of Laurie’s win to spread and others in similar fights to reach out to her for advice. Like a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly, Laurie Todd became the Insurance Warrior.
Laurie’s advice to someone who is fighting their insurance company are these three things:
1. No appeal is meant to lead to an approval. This is not a good-faith process. We win an appeal by doing exactly the opposite of what the insurer tells us to do.
2. Doctors have no power over the insurance company. If your doctor takes your insurance card — he is bound by contract to the insurance company. The insurer has complete control over him. Lawyers have no power over insurance companies. The insurer has a hundred lawyers to your one lawyer, they will keep you in the courts for years.
There is only one question that any insurer cares about, when deciding whether to approve a treatment: “Are we required to pay for this per the terms of your contract?” You, the patient, are the one who holds the contract. You are the only one who has any power over the insurance company.
3. Who you send your appeal to is more important than what you say. If you write a brilliant appeal — and send it to the post-office-box appeals department — you will lose. If you write a crappy appeal — and deliver it to the top twenty decision-makers at your insurance plan — you have a good chance of winning. Access is power.We asked Laurie where she sees herself in the next few years?
As long as there are denials to overturn, network issues to overcome, and legitimate lifesaving treatments to fight for — I will continue to write and fight appeals.
This is not about insurance. It’s about life. It’s about learning how to hack your way through any bureaucracy. Once we have mastered these strategies, no corporation or government entity will ever be able to determine our fate.
My work is about guiding ordinary people on their hero’s journey — and giving them back their power.”
Written by Nancy Lowe, Jennifer Boyle Photography Studio Manager
Want to connect with Laurie Todd, Insurance Warrior? Head to her website at www.theinsurancewarrior.com