Arijit Guha, a 31 year-old PhD student at Arizona State University, had just returned from vacation when he started to feel sick. What he thought might be a virus turned out to be much worse: he had a malignant growth in his colon. While removing the growth, his surgeon discovered the cancer had metastasized throughout his abdominal cavity.
He quickly hit the limit of his student health insurance plan, which capped the lifetime benefit at $300,000. He was out of luck, out of money, out of insurance — and still fighting Stage IV colon cancer.
He turned to the web to try to raise money for charity care, but that wasn’t enough. He then took up his cause directly with his insurance company, Aetna. He reached out on Twitter to plead his case. This lead the CEO, Mark Bertolini, to respond directly to Arijit. Bertolini read about Arijit’s plight, and then personally directed the company to help cover the gap.
Aetna commented on National Public Radio:
While we are pleased to have found a solution for Mr. Guha, we recognize that there is much more work to be done to fix the problems in our health care system. We are committed to reforms that make the system work better for everyone.